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THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW by Nita A. Farahany, ed. New York: Oxford Press, 317-54, 465-98 (2009). This paper can be ...

Fordham University School of Law

March 2009 Behavioral Genetics Evidence in Criminal Cases: 1994 - 2007 By DEBORAH W. DENNO ARTHUR A. MCGIVNEY PROFESSOR OF LAW THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW by Nita A. Farahany, ed. New York: Oxford Press, 317-54, 465-98 (2009)

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Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1089171

Electronic copy available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1089171

10. behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases: 1994–2007 deborah w. denno i. introduction In 1994, convicted murderer Stephen Mobley became a cause célèbre when he appealed his death sentence before the Georgia Supreme Court.1 According to Mobley’s counsel, the trial court should have enabled Mobley to be tested for genetic deficiencies. The counsel’s interest in genetics testing was straightforward: Mobley’s family history revealed generations of relatives with serious behavioral disorders. Indications that Mobley shared a genetic propensity for misconduct could help explain some of his troubling tendencies and why he should not be executed.2 In a highly publicized 1. Mobley v. State, 455 S.E.2d 61 (Ga. 1995). 2. See generally Deborah W. Denno, Legal Implications of Genetics and Crime Research, in GENETICS OF CRIMINAL AND ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR 248, 248–64 (Gregory Bock & Jamie Goode eds., 1996) (presented at the 1995 Ciba Foundation Symposium 194) (discussing the Mobley case in light of historical and contemporary arguments concerning the use of genetics evidence in criminal law cases). The news media focused on detailing the behavioral disorders across generations of the Mobley family. See, e.g., Carolyn Abraham, DNA at 50: The First of a 3 Part Series, The Bad Seed, GLOBE & MAIL (Toronto), Mar. 1, 2003, at F1 (“[Mobley’s lawyer] knew that arguing a genetic defect would never earn an acquittal. No credible expert would testify that genes made Mr. Mobley kill. But if there was any evidence that bad behaviour ran in the Mobley family, it might hold up at the sentencing as a mitigating factor.”); Steve Connor, Do Your Genes Make You a Criminal?, INDEP. ON SUN. (London), Feb. 12, 1995, at 19 (“‘There is no legal defence to his crime,’ says . . . Mobley’s attorney. ‘There is only the mitigating factor of his family history. His actions may not have been a product of totally free will.’ Murder, rape, robbery, suicide, ‘you name it,’ the Mobley family has had it, he says.”); Convicted Killer Seeks Brain Test, TIMES (London), Feb. 14, 1995, at 6 (“Violence, aggression and anti-social behaviour dominate the family tree of Stephen Mobley. . . . Lawyers acting for Mobley asked a court to allow him to undergo neurological tests to determine whether he was suffering from an imbalance of brain chemicals that may have contributed to his behaviour.”); Michelle Henery, Killer Blamed His Family History, TIMES (London), Oct. 2, 2002, at 5 (According to Mobley’s counsel, Mobley’s criminality derived from “four generations of Mobley men,” either successful or violent, “including a murderer, a rapist, an armed robber, spouse abusers, several substance abusers and Mobley’s father, a self-made millionaire.”); Kathryn Holmquist, Nature, Nurture, the “Criminal Gene”—What Makes Men Violent?, IRISH TIMES, May 9, 1996, at 12 (“After [Mobley] was sentenced to death, his lawyers won an appeal. They argued that he was not acting on the basis of ‘free will’ but due to a genetic

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decision,3 the Georgia Supreme Court rejected that reasoning and affirmed the trial court’s holding, explaining that the genetics theory involved in Mobley’s case “will not have reached a scientific stage of verifiable certainty in the near future and . . . Mobley could not show that such a stage will ever be reached.”4 One year later, Mobley’s family history evidence again became an issue. This time, new counsel representing Mobley filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus claiming Mobley’s trial counsel were inadequate for a range of reasons: failing to research sufficiently Mobley’s background for mitigating evidence, neglecting to acquire funds so that a psychologist could provide expert testimony during Mobley’s sentencing phase, wrongly declining an offer of financial assistance from Mobley’s father to support Mobley’s genetics testing, and incompetently raising an “unorthodox mitigating defense that attempted to show a possible genetic basis for Mobley’s conduct.”5 The habeas court vacated Mobley’s death sentence on grounds that Mobley’s trial counsel were ineffective;6 on appeal,

predilection. Virtually his entire family, they said, were violent.”); Minette Marrin, Freedom Is a Better Bet than the Gene Genie, SUN. TIMES (U.K.), Oct. 6, 2002, at 3G (“Generations of Mobleys, starting with [Stephen’s] great-grandfather, had been antisocial and violent, and his lawyers tried to argue that he was hard-wired to be bad.”). 3. Various news accounts illustrated the degree of attention the Mobley case received. See, e.g., Mike Pezzella, Violence DNA Researchers Mum on Meeting, Hoping to Avoid Protests, BIOTECH. NEWSWATCH, Apr. 15, 1996, at 14 (“The [Mobley] case became a minor landmark when Mobley’s . . . attorney . . . attempted to get Georgia to pay for a DNA analysis of Mobley in order to obtain evidence based on four generations of violence and aggressive business behavior in his family.”); Babs Brockway, Mobley’s Death Sentence Is Upheld, TIMES (Gainesville, Ga.), Mar. 18, 1995, at 1 (“The [Mobley] case gained international attention when [Mobley’s lawyer] Summer contended his defense was hurt by Hall Superior Court Judge Andy Fuller’s refusal to approve $1,000 for the tests . . . [which] could have shown that Mobley had a genetic predisposition toward violence.”); Not by Our Genes Alone, NEW SCI., Feb. 25, 1995, at 3 (“Mobley’s case became headline news in Britain last week, thanks to a scientific meeting on the links between genes and crime, held in London . . . ”); Kam Patel, Adrian Raine & Steven Rose, Perspective: An Inside Job Or A Set-Up?, TIMES HIGHER EDUC. SUPPLEMENT, Feb. 10, 1995, at 16 (“[W]hat appears to be pretty much an open and shut case—even Mobeley [sic] has never denied his guilt—has been catapulted on to the battlefield of a fierce worldwide debate.”); see also Sarah Boseley, Second Front: Genes In The Dock, GUARDIAN (London), Mar. 13, 1995, at T2 (“Even if [the Georgia Supreme Court turns down Mobley’s appeal], lawyers believe it is now no longer a case of whether genetic evidence will be allowed in court but when.”); Connor, supra note 2 (“[Mobley’s] last chance of reprieve rests with a plea from his lawyer that the murder was not the evil result of free will but the tragic consequence of a genetic predisposition.”); Edward Felsenthal, Legal Beat: Man’s Genes Made Him Kill, His Lawyers Claim, WALL ST. J., Nov. 15, 1994, at B1 (“The [Mobley] case seeks to break new legal ground by bringing into court a growing body of research linking genes and aggressive behavior.”). 4. Mobley, 455 S.E.2d at 66. 5. Turpin v. Mobley, 502 S.E.2d 458, 463 (Ga. 1998). 6. Id. at 461.

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however, the Georgia Supreme Court reversed and reinstated the sentence, concluding counsel had been adequate.7 Likewise, the Georgia Supreme Court denied reconsideration of the potential for testing Mobley for genetic deficiencies, but for a somewhat different reason than it had expressed three years earlier.8 In the court’s view, Mobley had in fact been “able to present the genetics theory” through a relative’s testimony about the family’s generations of behavioral problems;9 however, even if the court had allowed genetics testing, “there had been no showing that a geneticist would have offered additional significant evidence.”10 In 2005, after more appeals, Mobley was executed.11 Mobley’s request for genetics testing spawned an international debate on the political and scientific acceptance of behavioral genetics evidence in criminal law.12 Near the time of Mobley’s 1994 appeal, for example, the Ciba Foundation13 sponsored a symposium in London on the Genetics of Criminal

7. Id. at 467. 8. Id. at 463–66. 9. Id. at 466; see also infra notes 54–58 and accompanying text (discussing the testimony of Joyce Ann Mobley Childers). 10. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 466. 11. Mark Davis, Final Appeals Fail; Killer Mobley Dies, ATLANTA J. CONST., Mar. 2, 2005, at B3; Mark Davis, Mobley Dies for 1991 Murder; Supreme Court Denies Last Appeals HalfHour Before Execution, ATLANTA J. CONST., Mar. 2, 2005, at 1JJ. 12. See, e.g., Mariya Moosajee, Violence—A Noxious Cocktail of Genes and the Environment, 96 J. ROY. SOC’Y MED. 211, 213 (2003) (“[S]ince genetic make-up is predetermined, some might seek to make genes an excuse for misbehavior. . . . The case of Stephen Mobley . . . is a case in point.”); Sarah Boseley, Genes’ Link To Crime May Be Cited in Court, GUARDIAN (London), Feb. 14, 1995, at 4 (describing the difficulties and misconceptions regarding genetic predisposition to criminal behavior related by participants in the Ciba conference on the Genetics of Criminal and Antisocial Behaviour); Connor, supra note 2 (“[A]t a closed meeting of scientists at the Ciba Foundation in London, Mobley’s family tree will again come under intense scrutiny, this time by researchers studying the link between genes and violence.”); Roger Highfield, Scientists Can Test Foetus For Violent Gene, DAILY TELEGRAPH (U.K.), Feb. 14, 1995, at 4 (“Discovery of a genetic link to aggression may soon have an impact on America’s legal system.”) (referring to Mobley); Kenan Malik, Refutation: No Such Thing as a Born Killer, INDEPENDENT (London), Feb. 14, 1995, at 15 (describing the Mobley appeal and the Ciba conference as being “[t]wo recent events [that] have revived the debate about whether criminal behaviour is genetically determined”); Colin Wilson, Are Some People Born Criminal?, DAILY MAIL (U.K.), Aug. 2, 2002, at 12 (considering “whether there is such a thing as a ‘criminal gene’” to be “one of the great debates of modern times”); see also Denno, supra note 2, at 251–53 (citing articles discussing the controversy surrounding the Mobley case). 13. The Ciba Foundation is a scientific organization now called the Novartis Foundation. Information on Novartis Foundation Symposia can be found at http://www. novartisfound.org.uk/symp.htm (last visited Aug. 12, 2007). For purposes of clarity, this Chapter continues to refer to the Ciba Foundation in the context of discussions about the Ciba conference.

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and Antisocial Behaviour.14 Because the symposium examined the legal implications of behavioral genetics and crime research15 and contributed to the publicity surrounding the Mobley case,16 the issues discussed at Ciba are significant to this Chapter.17 Furthermore, the Ciba symposium was relevant to the legal field as a whole because the symposium’s themes squarely addressed a topic that had seemed dormant for years: the interdisciplinary links between behavioral genetics and crime.18 Such interdisciplinary contributions were just as relevant in 2007, a year when behavioral genetics evidence showed a relative upswing in application to criminal cases.19 Also that year, the United States Supreme Court responded to the attempted introduction of behavioral genetics evidence in Schriro v. Landrigan,20 another death penalty case.

14. The three-day Ciba Foundation symposium was held on February 14–16, 1995. Contents, in GENETICS OF CRIMINAL AND ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR, supra note 2, at v. The papers presented at the symposium were published in Genetics of Criminal and Antisocial Behaviour. Id. For the purposes of the symposium, I wrote a chapter about the Mobley case. See Denno, supra note 2, at 248. 15. See Denno, supra note 2, at 248. 16. For further descriptions of the debates surrounding the issue of genetics and crime outside the context of the Mobley case but in the wake of the Ciba conference on the Genetics of Criminal and Antisocial Behaviour, see Clive Cookson, Controversial Search for the Criminal Gene: A Conference the Americans Would not Allow, FIN. TIMES (U.K.), Feb. 14, 1995, at 8 (“Ten of the 13 speakers [at the Ciba conference] are from the US, where criminal genetics is a particularly controversial issue.”); Patel et al., supra note 3, at 16 (exploring opposing viewpoints on the connections between genes and crime and the implications of such on the legal system); Richard W. Stevenson, Researchers See Gene Link to Violence but Are Wary, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 19, 1995, at 29 (“Researchers [at the Ciba symposium] said . . . there was tentative but growing evidence of a genetic basis for some criminal and aggressive behavior. But clearly mindful of the controversy on this issue, most . . . emphasized that the ‘nature versus nurture’ debate was not an either-or proposition in this case”); and Tom Wilkie, Genes Link to Violence and Crime Condemned, INDEPENDENT (London), Feb. 15, 1995, HOME, at 2 (noting that the controversy surrounding the issues discussed at the Ciba symposium had “now reached the European Parliament”). 17. See infra Part III. 18. For example, the 25 symposium attendees represented a range of different academic areas, including genetics, psychology, philosophy, and law. See Participants, in GENETICS OF CRIMINAL AND ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR, supra note 2, at vii. For insightful analyses of the breadth of such interdisciplinary interactions, see Owen D. Jones, Behavioral Genetics and Crime, In Context, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW 125 (Nita A. Farahany ed., 2009) and Brent Garland & Mark S. Frankel, Considering Convergence: A Policy Dialogue About Behavioral Genetics, Neuroscience, and Law, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra, at 147. 19. See infra app. B. Appendix B, which consists of 48 cases arranged chronologically beginning with the most recent case, shows that most of the criminal cases using behavioral genetics evidence between 1994 and June 1, 2007, were published in 2006. 20. 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007).

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These developments stir the genetics and crime debate by prompting a key question: how have courts and litigators treated behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases during the 13 years between Mobley’s 1994 appeal and the Supreme Court’s decision in Landrigan? Much of the controversy concerning Mobley was based on the presumption that behavioral genetics evidence would skyrocket in use and abuse. The following pages seek to determine if such forecasts have been realized.21 From 1994 to June 1, 2007, at least 48 criminal cases relied on behavioral genetics evidence in a wide range of ways, but mostly as some sort of mitigating evidence in a death penalty case.22 While the number 48 is sizable, it does not constitute a surge.23 Nor have the legal strategies using the evidence been especially controversial. Contrary to predictions voiced around Mobley’s appeal, then, the fears and frenzy that Mobley generated are not warranted. At the same time, attorneys should be wary about how courts view behavioral genetics evidence. As in Landrigan,24 a substantial number of courts have either ignored or downplayed such information, or they have considered it negatively. For example, some courts have regarded a defendant’s family history of behavioral disorder to be indicative of that defendant’s potential for future dangerousness25 or to be a misguided attempt to sidestep responsibility for violence.26 These kinds of judicial reactions suggest that at least some of the legal strategies 21. This Chapter is less concerned with conceptual debates on whether behavioral genetics evidence should have a role in the criminal justice system than with what role it has actually assumed and why. Superb commentaries exist on whether behavioral genetics evidence should have any evidentiary contribution in the criminal justice system. See Nita A. Farahany & James E. Coleman, Jr., Genetics, Neuroscience, and Criminal Responsibility, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 18, at 183; Stephen J. Morse, Addiction, Science, and Criminal Responsibility, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 18, at 241. For research results on the interaction between genetic and environmental factors in violent criminal behavior and an overview of genetic testimony in murder trials, see William Bernet et al., Bad Nature, Bad Nurture, and Testimony Regarding MAOA and SLC6A4 Genotyping at Murder Trials, 52 J. FORENSIC SCI. 1362 (2007). 22. See infra Part IV & app. B. 23. This author’s prior article on the use of behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases from 1994 to 2004 had concluded “that little has occurred in the area of genetics and crime warranting the concern that Mobley generated.” Deborah W. Denno, Revisiting the Legal Link Between Genetics and Crime, 69 LAW & CONTEMP. PROBS. 209, 212 (Winter/ Spring 2006). That conclusion does not account for the relative growth in the use of such evidence in the past two-to-three years. 24. 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007). 25. See infra Part IV.B.3. 26. See, e.g., People v. Mertz, 842 N.E.2d 618, 663 (Ill. 2005), cert. denied, Mertz v. Illinois, 127 S. Ct. 47 (2006) (“We believe the effort to blame defendant’s drinking problems upon an alleged genetic or family predisposition was little more than a thinly veiled effort to divert responsibility from defendant for his failure to address his problems and take responsibility for them.”).

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using behavioral genetics evidence are without question a double-edged sword for defendants.27 The criminal justice system must be alert to the potential vulnerabilities of behavioral genetics evidence,28 and attorneys must weigh whether the information could be more prejudicial than probative for defendants.29 At the same time, a balance is needed between concern and overreaction. Unsupported fears, for example, could also curtail some capital defendants’ constitutionally legitimate attempts to submit mitigating factors during their death penalty cases, in particular, behavioral genetics evidence that could validate the existence of more traditionally accepted mitigating conditions, such as mental illness. Judges and juries may be less likely to think that a defendant is malingering by presenting evidence of states such as schizophrenia or alcoholism if such disorders commonly occurred across generations of the defendant’s family. Again, in these cases and evidentiary circumstances, context is critical.30

27. See infra Part IV. 28. For comprehensive and sophisticated accounts of the frailties and dangers of behavioral genetics research, see D. H. Kaye, Behavioral Genetics Research and Criminal DNA Databases: Laws and Policies, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 18, at 355; Erica Beecher-Monas & Edgar Garcia-Rill, Genetic Predictions of Future Dangerousness: Is There a Blueprint for Violence?, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 18, at 389; and Karen Rothenberg & Alice Wang, The Scarlet Gene: Behavioral Genetics, Criminal Law, and Racial and Ethnic Stigma, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 18, at 439. 29. See Diane E. Hoffman & Karen H. Rothenberg, When Should Judges Admit or Compel Genetic Tests?, 310 SCIENCE 241, 241 (2005). The authors’ survey of all trial court judges in Maryland included two hypothetical questions concerning the admissibility of behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases. Id. One question in particular was relevant to this Chapter’s topic: “whether they [the judges] would admit a positive genetic test for schizophrenia to establish that the defendant did not have the necessary criminal intent (mens rea) to commit the crime.” Id. According to the survey’s results, the judges “were almost equally divided,” id., with “[s]everal” judges characterizing the matter “as a ‘gray area’ where the ultimate question would be whether the information would be more prejudicial than probative,” id. at 242. The second question concerned a less defined condition: “whether, in a sentencing proceeding, they [the judges] would compel a test for a condition that predisposes an individual to bouts of rage (proclivity to ‘future dangerousness’).” Id. at 241. In response to this question, “[a] large majority of judges” explained that they would not compel such a test because “the test was an ‘inexact’ instrument that could brand someone for life and would be especially stigmatizing in the context of mental health.” Id. at 242. “A few judges” contended, though, “that because the defendant had been convicted, his privacy interest was already diminished” and such “information might assist them in predicting future dangerousness, especially when the defendant has no prior criminal record.” Id. 30. See id. (recommending that “judges scrutinize the admitting or compelling [of behavioral genetics evidence] in the context in which its use is proposed”).

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Discussions of an interdisciplinary subject of this sort require clear terminology, especially because of the close ties between biological and social factors and the frequent muddling of the terms “biological” and “genetic.” Therefore, this introduction briefly sets forth definitions of major terms according to how they are used in much of the research literature and in this Chapter.31 In general, social variables, such as socioeconomic status, consist of environmental influences on a person’s behavior.32 Biological variables, on the other hand, constitute “physiological, biochemical, neurological, and genetic” effects on how an individual may act.33 Genetic factors are a subset of biological variables, distinguishable because they are inherited; in contrast, social factors are not inherited.34 All these categories—social, biological, and genetic—are related in interesting ways. For example, being male is a genetic attribute that strongly predicts crime.35 Yet most men never commit an officially recorded crime, particularly a violent crime.36 Likewise, other biological factors and a wide range of social factors mediate the relationship between sex and criminal behavior, so much so that social variables greatly dominate a researcher’s ability to determine who among a small group of people will engage in criminality.37 A common stereotype is that an individual’s “genotype” or “genetic constitution”38 is static, as though there is a “crime gene” that “hardwires” certain people to violate the law.39 But this perspective, however entrenched in the public’s mind, has no scientific support. Rather, an overwhelming amount of evidence shows that “environments influence gene expression.”40 In other

31. For an excellent discussion of the basics of behavioral genetics and assessments of how it relates to human behavior, see Laura A. Baker, Serena Bezdjian & Adrian Raine, Behavioral Genetics: The Science of Antisocial Behavior, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 18, at 3, and Jonathan Kaplan, Misinformation, Misrepresentation, and Misuse of Human Behavioral Genetics Research, in THE IMPACT OF BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES ON CRIMINAL LAW, supra note 18, at 45. 32. Jasmine A. Tehrani & Sarnoff A. Mednick, Crime Causation: Biological Theories, in 1 ENCYCLOPEDIA OF CRIME & JUSTICE 292, 292 (Joshua Dressler et al. eds., 2d ed. 2002). 33. Id. 34. Id. 35. See Deborah W. Denno, Gender, Crime, and the Criminal Law Defenses, 85 J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 80, 80–180 (1994) (examining a broad range of statistics on sex differences in crime). 36. See id. 37. See DEBORAH W. DENNO, BIOLOGY AND VIOLENCE: FROM BIRTH TO ADULTHOOD 7–28 (1990) (detailing a large longitudinal study of various biological and sociological predictors of sex differences in crime). 38. GREGORY CAREY, HUMAN GENETICS FOR THE SOCIAL SCIENCES 68 (2003). 39. Denno, supra note 2, at 254; see also Holmquist, supra note 2 (referring to a “criminal gene” in the title of a news article about the Mobley case); Marrin, supra note 2 (“[Mobley’s] lawyers tried to argue that [Mobley] was hard-wired to be bad.”). 40. CAREY, supra note 38, at 452.

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words, an individual’s genetic structure may act developmentally and probabilistically in the context of social variables by potentially predisposing an individual to certain behavioral tendencies, such as shyness.41 In turn, “genotype influences societal response,” which explains, for example, why men are far more likely than women to wear a tuxedo rather than a dress at formal events.42 These kinds of interlinkages between genotype and the environment become helpful in assessing how behavioral genetics evidence may be viewed in a criminal law case such as Mobley. Part II of this Chapter briefly reviews the facts and legal arguments in Mobley. Part III addresses the primary issues that concerned the court in Mobley, noting that many of the reasons for the controversy over the potential use of behavioral genetics evidence in 1994 remain the same today. Part IV discusses the 48 behavioral genetics and crime cases occurring between 1994 and 2007, during the time Mobley and Landrigan spurred the topical dispute. These cases share several important characteristics: they overwhelmingly constitute murder convictions in which defendants attempted to use genetics evidence as a mitigating factor in a death penalty case (as Mobley and Landrigan did), and the evidence is introduced mostly to verify a condition (such as a type of mental illness) that is commonly acceptable for mitigation. Part V concludes that, contrary to some commentators’ warnings during the Mobley appeal, the last 13 years have not revealed a legally irresponsible application of behavioral genetics factors in criminal cases. Rather, courts continue to regard behavioral genetics variables skeptically, and society still embraces the same political and moral concerns over the role of such information. At the same time, courts have failed to provide sound and conceptually consistent reasons either for denying defendants’ offers of behavioral genetics evidence or for viewing such evidence in the worst light for defendants. Unwarranted constraints or stereotypical perspectives on the admissibility of behavioral genetics factors in death penalty cases can undercut some defendants’ efforts to fight their executions through the use of traditional mitigating evidence. As a result, the criminal justice system may be undermining the very principles and progressive thinking the cap on behavioral genetics information was originally intended to achieve.

41. Denno, supra note 2, at 254; see also Terrie E. Moffitt, Genetic and Environmental Influences on Antisocial Behaviors: Evidence from Behavioral-Genetic Research, in 55 ADVANCES IN GENETICS 41, 41–104 (Jeffrey C. Hall ed., 2005) (analyzing the interaction between genes and the environment with respect to antisocial behavior). 42. CAREY, supra note 38, at 452. For an excellent discussion and analysis of these issues, see Owen D. Jones & Timothy H. Goldsmith, Law and Behavioral Biology, 105 COLUM. L. REV. 405 (2005).

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ii. the stephen mobley case The facts and legal arguments raised in Mobley provide a broad context for analyzing the applicability of behavioral genetics evidence for purposes of mitigation. On February 17, 1991, Stephen Mobley entered a Domino’s Pizza store in Oakwood, Hall County, Georgia, to steal money. In the course of the robbery, he shot John Collins, the store’s manager, in the back of the head as Collins begged for his life. Mobley was caught a month later and immediately confessed to the crime.43 The two court-appointed attorneys assigned to Mobley, Daniel Summer and Charles Taylor,44 faced a daunting dilemma. There was little about Mobley that aroused legal sympathy or provided “‘traditional mitigation evidence.’”45 Mobley’s father was a multimillionaire.46 White and young (age 25 at the time of his crime), Mobley had recently left a home of economic privilege47 having experienced “a childhood standard of living [that] had ranged from middle class to affluent.”48 Mobley’s parents and sister, as well as Mobley himself, stated that he had never been neglected or abused, sexually or physically.49 Rather, Mobley showed an early and continuous history of personal and behavioral disorders that became ever more troubling with age. As a young child, Mobley cheated, lied, and stole. Such conduct worsened in adolescence, resulting in prison sentences for forgery and culminating in numerous armed robberies during Mobley’s mid-twenties. Following this years-long crime spree, Mobley robbed and murdered Collins. While awaiting trial for Collins’s death, Mobley’s aggression was out of control: he fought continually with other inmates, sodomized his cellmate, tattooed the word “Domino” on his own back, and

43. Mobley v. State, 426 S.E.2d 150, 151 (Ga. 1993); Mobley v. State, 455 S.E.2d 61, 65 (Ga. 1995); Turpin v. Mobley, 502 S.E.2d 458, 461 (Ga. 1998); Denno, supra note 2, at 251. 44. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 463; see infra note 51 and accompanying text. 45. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 463. 46. Denno, supra note 2, at 251. 47. Id.; Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 463–64. 48. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 464. 49. Id. at 463. Journalist Tom Junod depicted Mobley’s comfortable childhood in blunter terms: Deprivation? Want? Hey, they may explain your typical murderer, your average everyday ghetto shooter, but they sure . . . don’t explain Tony Mobley. Nothing does. Sure, his father’s hard and his mother harder; sure, they divorced when Tony was at a delicate age; sure, he resents . . . his older sister. But please, Dr. Freud, you have to believe him: There is nothing any of them did—father, mother, sister, grandpa, grandma, maiden aunt—to deserve him. He didn’t get beat, he didn’t get [sexually abused]; no, beating and [sexual abuse], they were what he did, and that’s how it has always been. Tom Junod, Pull the Trigger, GENTLEMEN’S Q., July 1994, at 92, 92–94.

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verbally taunted and threatened prison guards. As a youth and as an adult, seemingly no amount of counseling or punishment could contain Mobley’s outbursts.50 Mobley did have one advantage at the time of his trial—his attorneys, Summer and Taylor,51 proved to be creative and concerned advocates determined to put forward the best case that someone like Mobley could possibly have. According to Summer’s account of his trial tactics, he and Mobley “realized that they had no legal defense to the armed robbery and murder charges because of Mobley’s numerous confessions, and they also recognized that they had no traditional ‘mitigating’ evidence that they could offer the jury to convince them to spare [Mobley’s] life.”52 In light of these circumstances, Summer attempted to collect a wide range of other information in order to provide some kind of explanation for Mobley’s history and disposition.53 In the course of analyzing Mobley’s family, for example, Summer interviewed Joyce Ann Mobley Childers, the first cousin of Mobley’s father.54 At Mobley’s sentencing hearing, Ms. Childers testified that four generations of Mobleys—including Mobley’s uncles, aunts, and a grandfather— consistently engaged in acts of violence, aggression, and behavioral disorder.55 Such behavior ranged from serious crimes (murder and rape) to extreme spousal abuse, alcoholism, explosive temperaments, and antisocial conduct.56 At the same time, a substantial number of Mobleys were highly successful at business.57 This split created a family reputation of peculiar renown: the Mobleys were either behaviorally disturbed or business achievers, and, in a number of cases, they were both.58 What instigated Stephen Mobley’s violence? No one knew, but Summer attempted to find out. He and Taylor requested experts and financial support of

50. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 463–64; Denno, supra note 2, at 251–52; Daniel A. Summer, The Use of Human Genome Research in Criminal Defense and Mitigation of Punishment, in GENETICS AND CRIMINALITY: THE POTENTIAL MISUSE OF SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION IN COURT 182, 189 (Jeffrey R. Botkin et al. eds., 1999). 51. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 463. 52. Summer, supra note 50, at 189; see also Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 463–66 (recognizing the lack of available mitigating evidence in Mobley’s background). 53. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 463–66. 54. Id. at 465; Denno, supra note 2, at 251. At the time of her trial testimony, Joyce Ann went by the name of Joyce Ann Mobley Childers. Denno, supra note 2, at 251. The Turpin court, however, refers to her using two different last names: Joyce Ann Elders, see Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 465, and Joyce Ann Childers, see id. at 467 (basically the name she used at trial). The court does not explain the discrepancy in names. 55. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 465. 56. Id.; Denno, supra note 2, at 251 & fig.1. 57. Denno, supra note 2, at 251 & fig.1. 58. Id.

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$1000 so that scientific tests could be conducted to determine if Mobley showed any kind of genetic or neurochemical imbalance.59 In an effort to bolster the demonstrated need for funding, Summer introduced into evidence a then-recent article by Han Brunner and others, published in the prestigious journal Science.60 The article (and other publications following it)61 reported the results of genetics testing of a Dutch kindred of four generations.62 The kindred included 14 males affected by a syndrome characterized by borderline mental retardation and serious behavioral dysfunction. Brunner and his coauthors had sufficient documentation on eight of these males to note more specific and consistent disorders among them, including impulsivity, verbal and physical aggression, and violence.63 A number of the kindred’s males also had committed serious crimes. One man had raped his sister and, after he was institutionalized, stabbed the institution’s warden in the chest. Another man habitually forced his sisters to undress at knife point, while another tried to kill his boss. Yet two more were arsonists, and several regularly groped or grasped female family members.64 Tests on these males showed a defect on the X chromosome, known as monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) deficiency, which was passed from mother to son and linked to regulating aggression.65 According to Summer, it seemed reasonable to investigate whether Mobley was also afflicted by the MAOA deficiency or by a comparable kind of disability. Indeed, a coauthor of the Science article66 had volunteered to perform genetics testing on Mobley to determine whether Mobley shared the same or a similar kind of genetic mutation.67 Other researchers offered to assess whether Mobley demonstrated abnormal levels of additional kinds of chemicals that can be linked

59. Id. at 252; Summer, supra note 50, at 189. 60. H.G. Brunner et al., Abnormal Behavior Associated with a Point Mutation in the Structural Gene for Monoamine Oxidase A, 262 SCIENCE 578 (1993) [hereinafter Brunner et al., Abnormal Behavior]; see also Paul S. Appelbaum, Behavioral Genetics and the Punishment of Crime, 56 PSYCH. SERVICES 25, 25 (2005) (discussing the Brunner et al. study). 61. For a general overview of the research, see Han G. Brunner, MAOA Deficiency and Abnormal Behaviour: Perspectives on an Association, in GENETICS OF CRIMINAL AND ANTISOCIAL BEHAVIOUR, supra note 2, at 155, 155–67 [hereinafter Brunner, MAOA Deficiency]. For details on the studies, see Brunner et al., Abnormal Behavior, supra note 60; H.G. Brunner et al., X-Linked Borderline Mental Retardation with Prominent Behavioral Disturbance: Phenotype, Genetic Localization, and Evidence for Disturbed Monoamine Metabolism, 52 AM. J. HUM. GENETICS 1032 (1993) [herinafter Brunner et al., X-Linked]. 62. Brunner, MAOA Deficiency, supra note 61, at 156. 63. Id. 64. Brunner et al., X-Linked, supra note 61, at 1035. 65. Brunner et al., Abnormal Behavior, supra note 60, at 578–79. 66. See id. at 578. 67. Denno, supra note 2, at 252. The coauthor who volunteered to test Mobley was Xandra Breakefield. Id.

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to aggression, such as serotonin, noradrenaline, and adrenaline.68 As the Supreme Court of Georgia explained, [Summer’s] strategy in the penalty phase centered around the following theme: Mobley has a personality disorder that has affected his behavior since he was a child, this behavior may be the result of a genetic problem that he cannot control, the jury should show him mercy because people with personality disorders tend to “mellow out” as they age, and Mobley has accepted responsibility for his crimes by cooperating with the police and offering to plead guilty.69 Of course this plan failed in Mobley’s case.70 Yet the implications of the court’s holding raise many issues that were underscored by the Ciba symposium71 and that remain relevant today.

iii. issues raised by mobley A. Mobley Themes at Ciba Several themes that emerged at the Ciba symposium were fueled specifically by Mobley. First, the symposium’s mere occurrence highlights the unusual interdisciplinary concern with the possible link between behavioral genetics and crime.72 The second theme was the narrowness with which the press and public viewed the Mobley case, focusing mainly on the tie between the case and the Brunner article in Science. This emphasis was unfortunate but not surprising, partly because Mobley’s counsel had introduced Brunner’s study into evidence in support of a request for funds for genetic and neurochemical testing of Mobley.73 Yet medical analyses of Mobley were intended to be far broader than simply an investigation of MAOA deficiency, in part because Mobley did not appear to fit the common characteristics of an individual suffering from MAOA deficiency syndrome. At the Ciba symposium74 and in the Mobley case itself,75 commentators emphasized that Mobley’s tested IQ was average, a sharp contrast 68. Id. 69. Turpin v. Mobley, 502 S.E.2d 458, 466 (Ga. 1998). 70. See supra notes 8–11 and accompanying text. 71. See supra notes 12–18 and accompanying text. 72. Typically, symposia at the Ciba Foundation do not involve topics that would interest nonscientists. See The Novartis Foundation, http://www.novartisfound.org.uk (last visited Aug. 12, 2007); see also supra note 16 and accompanying text. 73. See supra notes 59–60 and accompanying text. The MAOA deficiency issue has come about in other cases. See Appelbaum, supra note 60, at 25–27. 74. Denno, supra note 2, at 252. 75. Turpin v. Mobley, 502 S.E.2d 458, 463 (Ga. 1998) (“[P]sychological reports showed that Mobley had an average IQ. . . . Although some psychological reports early in Mobley’s childhood suggested that he might have a learning disability or organic brain disorder, later reports found no evidence of either.”).

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to the borderline IQ shown by the males in Brunner’s study.76 Likewise, Mobley’s disorder, if it had any genetic basis whatsoever, seemed to be transmitted through males, not through females.77 Therefore, the proposed Mobley evaluations were geared toward uncovering a wide range of neurochemical imbalances, the origins of which could be biological or even environmental. The Ciba symposium prompted interest in a third theme—the future legal use of behavioral genetics evidence. A symposium chapter, Legal Implications of Genetics and Crime Research,78 estimated that after Mobley, attorneys would increasingly attempt to introduce behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases.79 This estimate was not based on the perceived quality or moral acceptability of the evidence, but simply on a belief that defense counsel would progressively investigate scientific discoveries in their various efforts to provide mitigation for death row clients.80 B. Mobley Themes since Ciba Historically, behavioral genetics evidence has been no stranger to law.81 Now, however, the themes of the Ciba symposium take on new significance as research grows. Behavioral genetics studies are gaining in sophistication,82 and criminal defense attorneys are becoming more interdisciplinary.83 Despite the enhanced acceptance of behavioral genetics research, however, behavioral genetics evidence84 continues to be plagued by the same problems

76. Brunner et al., Abnormal Behavior, supra note 60, at 578. 77. Denno, supra note 2, at 251 & fig.1. 78. Id. at 248. 79. Id. at 252. 80. Id. at 252–55. 81. It is beyond the scope of this Chapter to analyze either the research or the publications examining the link between genetics and crime in legal cases. For a few overviews of this literature, see CAREY, supra note 38; Denno, supra note 2; Jones & Goldsmith, supra note 42; Moffitt, supra note 41; and Matthew Jones, Overcoming the Myth of Free Will in Criminal Law: The True Impact of the Genetic Revolution, 52 DUKE L.J. 1031, 1039–40 (2003) (describing XYY syndrome–related studies in the context of the early history of genetic defenses in criminal trials). 82. For recent research reviews, see CAREY, supra note 38, at 431–57; Tehrani & Mednick, supra note 32, at 292–302; Moffitt, supra note 41, at 41–104; and Terrie E. Moffitt, The New Look of Behavioral Genetics in Developmental Psychopathology: Gene-Environment Interplay in Antisocial Behaviors, 131 PSYCHOL. BULL. 533 (2005). 83. See Summer, supra note 50, at 182–90. 84. Of course, there are vastly different types of genetics evidence, ranging from family history to modern medical testing. It is artificial to aggregate all the research under one heading. This type of lumping also confuses debates about when and where the evidence should be appropriately applied. The umbrella heading of “genetics evidence” is used in this Chapter, however, to make general points, while recognizing that the points made could differ in their accuracy depending on the type and quality of evidence being discussed.

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and concerns that were raised 12 years ago at the Ciba symposium. Such concerns include the following: (1) the historical association of genetics evidence with abuses by the Nazis during the Holocaust; (2) the meaning accorded the evidence in terms of the potential chilling of society’s notions of free will; (3) the possible stigmatizing effect of such evidence, exemplified by past efforts to screen and genetically follow targeted children or to corral through preventive detention those individuals deemed genetically predisposed to violence; (4) the absolution of societal responsibility for the social and economic factors that lead to crime if legal actors find a “genetics” defense acceptable; and (5) suggestions that juries may be more readily swayed in court by genetic or biological studies because such research seems more objective and precise than do social or behavioral factors.85 All five issues, which remain unresolved, influence how the criminal justice system perceives behavioral genetics research. At the same time, however, modern research continues to emphasize the importance of environmental effects on behavior,86 thereby debunking the common myth that an individual’s genetic structure is static.87 Indeed, during the past 13 years, criminological investigations have increasingly incorporated genetic, biological, and social factors as vehicles for understanding crime. When these studies employ many different kinds of variables, their results show that genetics and biology continually accentuate the significance of social factors on behavior—so much so that the three interactive categories (“genetic,” “biological,” and “social”) are often difficult to separate and decipher.88 In light of these kinds of discoveries, the next part examines cases that have used behavioral genetics evidence since the time Mobley was decided.

iv. behavioral genetics evidence cases: 1994–2007 The various arguments about the role of behavioral genetics in criminal law are still largely theoretical. Behavioral genetics evidence has not gained widespread acceptance in current case law despite Mobley and the decisions since that have resembled it. Those criminal cases that have used behavioral genetics evidence, however, reflect the interdisciplinary efforts of attorneys to help explain defendants’ behaviors. At least 48 criminal cases have referred to behavioral

85. Denno, supra note 2, at 254; see also infra note 219 (describing the reactions to a 1995 University of Maryland conference on The Meaning and Significance of Research on Genetics and Criminal Behavior, in which the public and some conference participants voiced many of these same five concerns). 86. See DENNO, supra note 37. 87. Denno, supra note 2, at 254. 88. For examinations of the relationship among these variables, see CAREY, supra note 38; DENNO, supra note 37; Jones & Goldsmith, supra note 42; and Moffitt, supra note 41.

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genetics evidence over the past 13 years, that is, since 1994, when Mobley first appealed his death sentence, to June 1, 2007, shortly after the Supreme Court decided Landrigan.89 A. An Overview of the Behavioral Genetics Evidence Cases The charts in Appendix A90 and the cases summarized in Appendix B91 give an aggregate overview of the genetics issues involving the 48 defendants. As Chart 1 shows, most of the cases are appellate court decisions in which the defendant either received the death penalty (37 cases) or life in prison (three cases).92 This 89. These cases, which are summarized in Charts 1–3 of Appendix A and in Appendix B, were compiled using legal research databases only. Other cases may exist in which genetic predisposition evidence was at issue or potentially could have been at issue; however, such cases were either not published or were not made known publicly in a way that made them readily verifiable. (A general Internet search turned up references to cases in which behavioral genetics evidence was relevant; in most instances, however, efforts to locate such cases on Westlaw or LexisNexis were unsuccessful.) The 48 cases discussed in this Chapter also do not include Mobley, 455 S.E.2d 61 (Ga. 1995), which already has been examined in some detail, or other decisions in which behavioral genetics evidence may have been an issue in a context not relevant to this Chapter. For example, in People v. Rodriguez, 764 N.Y.S.2d 305 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2003), the New York Supreme Court held a defendant may be compelled to provide a blood sample for DNA testing so the defendant’s DNA could be compared to DNA evidence from a crime scene. Id. at 311–15. The court ruled that the defendant’s DNA could be used only for that criminal proceeding, however, and could not be placed into a DNA database for comparison with DNA evidence from other unsolved crimes. Results of DNA testing must be kept confidential—defendant has an “‘exclusive property right’ to control dissemination of his genetic makeup.” Id. at 311. In essence, the opinion concerns privacy rights and DNA samples, as well as ways in which genetic material has been abused in the past. Id. at 307–15. 90 See infra app. A, charts 1–3. 91 See infra app. B. 92. See infra app. A, chart 1; app. B. In 37 of the 48 examined cases, the defendant received the death penalty. See Johnson v. Quarterman, 483 F.3d 278 (5th Cir. 2007); Marquard v. Sec’y for Dep’t of Corrections, 429 F.3d 1278 (11th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, Marquard v. McDonough, 126 S. Ct. 2356 (2006); Dennis ex rel. Butko v. Budge, 378 F.3d 880 (9th Cir. 2004); Landrigan v. Stewart, 272 F.3d 1221 (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007). West v. Bell, 242 F.3d 338 (6th Cir. 2001); Mickey v. Ayers, No. C-93-0243 RMW, 2006 WL 3358410 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2006); Hamilton v. Ayers, 458 F. Supp. 2d 1075 (E.D. Cal. 2006); Jones v. Schriro, 450 F. Supp. 2d 1023 (D. Ariz. 2006); Hendricks v. Calderon, 864 F. Supp. 929 (N.D. Cal. 1994), aff’d, 70 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1995); Loving v. United States, 64 M.J. 132 (C.A.A.F. 2006); Fudge v. State, 120 S.W.3d 600 (Ark. 2003); People v. Lancaster, 158 P.3d 157 (Cal. 2007); People v. Smith, 150 P.3d 1224 (Cal. 2007); Rogers v. State, 783 So. 2d 980 (Fla. 2001); Head v. Thomason, 578 S.E.2d 426 (Ga. 2003); People v. Mertz, 842 N.E.2d 618 (Ill. 2005), cert. denied, Mertz v. Illinois, 127 S. Ct. 47 (2006); People v. Armstrong, 700 N.E.2d 960 (Ill. 1998); People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995); Stevens v. State, 770 N.E.2d 739

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breakdown in disposition is critical because it indicates that behavioral genetics evidence is submitted primarily as a mitigating factor in death penalty cases rather than as a defense relating to the defendant’s level of culpability at the trial court level. The criteria for evaluating and admitting mitigating evidence are far broader and more flexible than those used for defenses.93 For example, the trial

(Ind. 2002); Benefiel v. State, 716 N.E.2d 906 (Ind. 1999); State v. Frank, 957 So. 2d 724 (La. 2007); State v. Manning, 885 So. 2d 1044 (La. 2004); Billiot v. State, 655 So. 2d 1 (Miss. 1995); State v. Ferguson, 20 S.W.3d 485 (Mo. 2000); State v. Timmendequas, 737 A.2d 55 (N.J. 1999); State v. Hartman, 476 S.E.2d 328 (N.C. 1996); State v. Ketterer, 855 N.E.2d 48 (Ohio 2006), cert. denied, Ketterer v. Ohio, 127 S. Ct. 2266 (2007); State v. Scott, 800 N.E.2d 1133 (Ohio 2004); State v. Hughbanks, 792 N.E.2d 1081 (Ohio 2003); State v. Spivey, 692 N.E.2d 151 (Ohio 1998); State v. Wilson, No. Civ. A. 92CA005396, 1994 WL 558568 (Ohio Ct. App. Oct. 12, 1994); Von Dohlen v. State, 602 S.E.2d 738 (S.C. 2004); Morris v. State, No. W2005-00426-CCA-R3-PD, 2006 WL 2872870 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 10, 2006); Keen v. State, No. W2004-02159-CCA-R3-PD, 2006 WL 1540258 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 5, 2006), cert. denied, Keen v. Tennessee, 127 S. Ct. 2250 (2007); Cauthern v. State, 145 S.W.3d 571 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2004); Alley v. State, 958 S.W.2d 138 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997); Hall v. State, 160 S.W.3d 24 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004) (en banc). In three cases, the defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment. See Davis v. State, No. M2003-00744-CCA-R3-PC, 2004 WL 253396 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 11, 2004); State v. Maraschiello, 88 S.W.3d 586 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2000); State v. Arausa, No. 2002439113 (Dist. Ct. Lubbock County July 5, 2002), aff’d, Arausa v. State, No. 07-02-0396-CR, 2003 WL 21803322 (Tex. Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2003). Three of the cases were remanded. State v. Madey, No. 81166, 2002-Ohio-5976, 2002 WL 31429827 (Ohio App. 8 Dist. Oct. 31, 2002) (vacating and remanding sentencing decision of trial court); State v. Sexton, 904 A.2d 1092 (Vt. 2006) (affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding); State v. Idellfonso-Diaz, No. M2006-00203-CCA-R9-CD, 2006 WL 3093207 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 1, 2006) (remanding decision of trial court). In one case, the defendant was acquitted. State v. DeAngelo, No. CR 97010866S, 2000 WL 973014 (Conn. Super. June 20, 2000). In one case, the defendant was sentenced to 35 years of imprisonment. People v. Hammerli, 662 N.E.2d 452 (Ill. App. Ct. 1996). In one case, the defendant was sentenced to 28 years of imprisonment. Miller v. State, No. 01-06-00034-CR, 2007 WL 1559822 (Tex. App. Hous. 1 Dist. May 31, 2007). In one case, defendant’s application for transfer from a state mental hospital was denied. People v. Allaway, No. G030307, 2003 WL 22147632 (Cal. App. 4 Dist. Sept. 18, 2003). Finally, in one case, the defendant’s driving privileges remained suspended. Sanchez v. Ryan, 734 N.E.2d 920 (Ill. App. Ct. 2000). 93. Mitigation evidence can be introduced during the penalty phase of a death penalty case to support attorneys’ explanations for why a defendant should not be executed. LINDA E. CARTER & ELLEN KREITZBERG, UNDERSTANDING CAPITAL PUNISHMENT LAW 137 (2004). The evidence, which is typically introduced through the use of expert testimony, focuses on a potentially wide range of individualized circumstances—for example, that the defendant had no prior criminal record, came from an abusive home, is remorseful, will not be dangerous in the future, is young, has a mental disorder, or suffers from any one of various life circumstances. Id. at 137–38. Although the Supreme Court permits substantial flexibility in the kind of evidence that can be admitted for mitigation purposes, the Court

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judge in Landrigan’s sentencing hearing concluded that one of the two nonstatutory mitigating circumstances operating on Landrigan’s behalf was that “Landrigan’s family loved him,”94 feelings that would hardly be viable for Landrigan as a defense against a murder conviction. Chart 2 in Appendix A indicates that most of the behavioral genetics evidence is applied to validate the existence of a serious condition, typically a mental illness or addiction, which the defendant could introduce as mitigating evidence in a death penalty case or at trial, irrespective of the genetics issue.95 For example, the majority of cases involve a mental disorder of some sort, such as depression (five cases), “mental illness” in general (seven cases), or other problems reflecting a range of impairments. Notably, 12 cases concern a defendant’s arguing a genetic predisposition to addiction, either to alcohol (seven cases) or drugs and alcohol combined (five cases).96

also allows states considerable discretion in how that evidence can be structured. Id. A substantial case law and literature on this topic are discussed in detail elsewhere. See generally id. at 137–56 (providing a general overview of the key cases and literature on mitigation evidence in death penalty cases). 94. Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933, 1938 (2007) (citations omitted). 95. The total number of cases will be more than the number of examined cases (48), because in some cases the evidence was applied to validate more than one condition. 96. See infra app. A, chart 2; app. B. Behavioral genetics evidence has been used to validate the existence of a wide range of serious conditions. See Johnson, 483 F.3d at 288 n.* (substance abuse); Marquard, 429 F.3d at 1288 (personality disorders); Dennis ex rel. Butko, 378 F.3d at 895 (Berzon, J., concurring) (mental illness); Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1228–29 (predisposition towards violence); West, 242 F.3d at 344 (mental illness); Mickey, 2006 WL 3358410, at *19 (predisposition to alcohol and drug dependency); Hamilton, 458 F. Supp. 2d at 1091 (extreme mental and emotional impairment, serious psychiatric disorders); Jones, 450 F. Supp. 2d at 1031 (substance abuse, affective disorder, mental health difficulties); Hendricks, 864 F. Supp. at 935 (mental illness); Loving, 64 M.J. at 151 (alcoholism); Fudge, 120 S.W.3d at 602–03 (violence towards women); Lancaster, 158 P.3d at 165 (antisocial personality); Smith, 150 P.3d at 1234 (psychopathy, antisocial characteristics); Allaway, 2003 WL 22147632, at *3 (mental illness, psychotic behavior); DeAngelo, 2000 WL 973104, at *6 (bipolar disorder); Rogers, 783 So. 2d at 996 (porphyria); Thomason, 578 S.E.2d at 429, 435 (alcohol and drug abuse/addiction); Mertz, 842 N.E.2d at 662 (alcohol dependence, alcoholism, mood disorder); Armstrong, 700 N.E.2d at 970 (alcoholism); Franklin, 656 N.E.2d at 761 (mental illness, predisposition towards violence); Sanchez, 734 N.E.2d at 922 (alcohol tolerance); Hammerli, 662 N.E.2d at 456 (severe mood disorder); Stevens, 770 N.E.2d at 750 (dissociative disorder); Benefiel, 716 N.E.2d at 913 (schizotypal personality disorder); Frank, 957 So. 2d at 734 (PTSD); Manning, 885 So. 2d at 1097 (alcoholism); Billiot, 655 So. 2d at 8 (schizophrenia); Ferguson, 20 S.W.3d at 509 (depression); Timmendequas, 737 A.2d at 71 (pedophilia); Hartman, 476 S.E.2d at 342 (alcoholism); Ketterer, 855 N.E.2d at 83 (mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder); Scott, 800 N.E.2d at 1148 (chemical dependencies); Hughbanks, 792 N.E.2d at 1101 (schizophrenia); Madey, 2002 WL 31429827, at *1 (alcoholism); Spivey, 692 N.E.2d at 165 (extra Y chromosome); Wilson, 1994 WL 558568, at *43 (alcoholism); Von Dohlen,

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Chart 3 in Appendix A provides information on the nature of the evidence the defendant seeks to admit. Most of the information is based on some kind of expert evaluation or family history (30 and 25 cases, respectively), rather than on a medical study of the defendant.97 This revelation is important to the extent that 602 S.E.2d at 741–42 (depression, mental disorders); Idellfonso-Diaz, 2006 WL 3093207, at *2 (depression); Morris, 2006 WL 2872870, at *22 (bipolar disorder); Keen, 2006 WL 1540258, at *24 (mental illness); Cauthern, 145 S.W.3d at 588 (impulsive behavior); Davis, 2004 WL 253396, at *4 (depression, mental illness); Maraschiello, 88 S.W.3d at 598 (delusional disorder); Alley, 958 S.W.2d at 140–43 (physical abnormalities, neurosis, multiple personality disorder); Miller, 2007 WL 1559822, at *2 (acute intermittent porphyria); Hall, 160 S.W.3d at 32–33 (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fragile X Syndrome, Klinefelter’s Syndrome, extra Y chromosome); Arausa, 2003 WL 21803322, at *4 (propensity of abused to become abusers); Sexton, 904 A.2d at 1105 n.13 (schizophrenia). 97. See infra app. A, chart 3; app. B. Chart 3 illustrates the frequency with which defendants sought to admit different forms of genetics evidence. The total number will be more than the number of examined cases (48), because in some cases the defense attempted to introduce more than one form. Defendants sought to admit expert testimony regarding a direct evaluation of the defendant in 30 instances. See Johnson, 483 F.3d at 288 n.* (expert was a mitigation specialist rather than a psychologist or medical doctor); Marquard, 429 F.3d at 1288; West, 242 F.3d at 344 (Moore, J., dissenting); Mickey, 2006 WL 3358410, at *19; Hamilton, 458 F. Supp. 2d at 1091; Jones, 450 F. Supp. 2d at 1027; Lancaster, 158 P.3d at 165; Smith, 150 P.3d at 1234; Allaway, 2003 WL 22147632, at *3; DeAngelo, 2000 WL 973104, at *6; Rogers, 783 So. 2d at 997; Thomason, 578 S.E.2d at 429 n.1; Mertz, 842 N.E.2d at 641; Hammerli, 662 N.E.2d at 456; Stevens, 770 N.E.2d at 750; Frank, 957 So. 2d 734; Manning, 885 So. 2d at 1096-97; Billiot, 655 So. 2d at 8; Timmendequas, 737 A.2d at 71; Ketterer, 855 N.E.2d at 78; Scott, 800 N.E. 2d at 1148; Hughbanks, 792 N.E.2d at 1101; Madey, 2002 WL 31429827, at *4 n.4; Spivey, 692 N.E.2d at 165; Idellfonso-Diaz, 2006 WL 3093207, at *2; Morris, 2006 WL 2872870, at *15; Keen, 2006 WL 1540258, at *23; Alley, 958 S.W.2d at 140–43; Hall, 160 S.W.3d at 32–33; Sexton, 904 A.2d at 1106. Defendants also attempted to introduce evidence regarding their family histories in 25 instances. Johnson, 483 F.3d at 288 n.*; Mickey, 2006 WL 3358410, at *19; Hamilton, 458 F. Supp. 2d at 1091; Hendricks, 864 F. Supp. at 934-5; Loving, 64 M.J. at 151; Rogers, 783 So. 2d at 997; Thomason, 578 S.E.2d at 429 n.1; Mertz, 842 N.E.2d at 641; Armstrong, 700 N.E.2d at 970; Franklin, 656 N.E.2d at 761; Sanchez, 734 N.E.2d at 922–23; Benefiel, 716 N.E.2d at 913; Frank, 957 So. 2d at 734; Hartman, 476 S.E.2d at 339–42; Ketterer, 855 N.E.2d at 78; Scott, 800 N.E.2d at 1148–49; Madey, 2002 WL 31429827, at *4; Wilson, 1994 WL 558568, at *43; Morris, 2006 WL 2872870, at *15; Keen, 2006 WL 1540258, at *23; Cauthern, 145 S.W.3d at 588; Davis, 2004 WL 253396, at *4; Maraschiello, 88 S.W.3d at 599; Miller, 2007 WL 1559822, at *2; Sexton, 904 A.2d at 1118. Defendants attempted to introduce evidence regarding their behavioral histories three times. See Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1228–29; Ferguson, 20 S.W.3d at 509; West, 242 F.3d at 344. Defendants also attempted to introduce their medical records in five instances. See Benefiel, 716 N.E.2d at 913; Von Dohlen, 602 S.E.2d at 741–42; Miller, 2007 WL 1559822, at *2; West, 242 F.3d at 344; Sexton, 904 A.2d at 1106. Three defendants attempted to introduce medical studies as evidence. See Arausa, 2003 WL 21803322, at *4; Keen, 2006 WL 1540258, at *23; Mickey, 2006 WL 3358410, at *19. One defendant attempted to introduce

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both the judiciary and the public appear more concerned about the direct medical testing of a defendant than, for example, descriptive accounts of the defendant’s family history. Regardless, both direct testing and family history strongly reflect environmental influences.98 Seventeen cases99 make only brief, passing references to behavioral genetics evidence. Typically in these cases, courts merely listed the behavioral genetics evidence among the mitigating factors offered by the defense during the sentencing or penalty phases of a death penalty trial. In the remaining 33 cases, behavioral genetics evidence is an issue of varying significance. Even when the behavioral genetics evidence is not pivotal, however, subtleties in the opinions of all 48 cases may provide some insight concerning courts’ future stances toward behavioral genetic and environmental factors as mitigation. B. Tactical Strategies for Using Behavioral Genetics Evidence Tactical strategies for using behavioral genetics evidence varied among the 48 cases. In general, however, most cases employed behavioral genetics evidence in three primary ways: (1) to support a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, (2) to provide proof and diagnosis of a defendant’s genetic condition, and/or (3) to indicate some likelihood of the defendant’s future dangerousness. Any association between the type of strategy and the court’s acceptance of the behavioral genetics evidence is difficult to garner, given the range of other factors influencing these cases and the varying legal standards that were raised. As Appendix B indicates, for example, attorneys introduced behavioral genetics evidence to bolster claims spanning from defendant’s incompetency to stand

medical testing as evidence. Idellfonso-Diaz, 2006 WL 3093207, at *1. One case did not describe the nature of the evidence sought to be introduced. See Fudge, 120 S.W.3d at 600. Finally, one case examined did not involve the introduction of genetics evidence, genetics being mentioned only in passing. See Dennis ex rel. Butko, 378 F.3d at 895 (Berzon, J., concurring). 98. For further discussion of the tendency of individuals to overplay the powerful effect of biology on behavior, see Deborah W. Denno, Commentary, in UNDERSTANDING CRIME: A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH 175, 175–80 (Susan Guarino-Ghezzi & A. Javier Treviño eds., 2005). 99. See infra app. B. Those 17 cases are Johnson, 483 F.3d at 288 n.*; Marquard, 429 F.3d at 1288; West, 242 F.3d at 344; Loving, 64 M.J. at 151; Lancaster, 158 P.3d at 165; DeAngelo, 2000 WL 973104, at *6; Rogers, 783 So. 2d at 997; Stevens, 770 N.E.2d at 754; Frank, 957 So. 2d at 734; Manning, 885 So. 2d at 1096–97; Ferguson, 20 S.W.3d at 509; Timmendequas, 737 A.2d at 71; Scott, 800 N.E.2d at 1148; Wilson, 1994 WL 558568, at *43; Davis, 2004 WL 253396, at *4; Maraschiello, 88 S.W.3d at 598; and Miller, 2007 WL 1559822, at * 2. Although these cases reference behavioral genetics evidence only in passing, some of the cases are relevant nonetheless to discussions that appear elsewhere in this Chapter’s analysis.

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trial to insanity to traditional forms of mitigation.100 Other factors, such as what kind of expert was testifying when about which kinds of evidence and whether the alleged conditions were medically evaluated or derived from family histories, further compound efforts to designate any kind of cohesive approach to how courts viewed such information. Of course, courts and evidentiary standards also vary by state and over time. In addition, the application of these three strategies was not rigid or discrete. While behavioral genetics evidence was used disproportionately in claims of ineffective assistance of counsel—the only strategy for which a clear breakdown of cases was possible because defendants must raise a distinct legal claim— many of the 48 cases employed more than one strategy.101 In general, then, defense attorneys raised behavioral genetics evidence in numerous and varied ways. 1. Ineffective Assistance of Counsel Twenty cases involved petitions and appeals by defendants based on claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.102 In some of these cases, the court held that including behavioral genetics evidence was a valid defensive strategy. In Head v. Thomason,103 for example, the defendant successfully argued his ineffective assistance of counsel claim on the basis that his counsel did not raise important mitigation evidence that included a social worker’s opinion that the defendant’s family “had a strong genetic disposition to

100. See infra app. B. 101. For example, both Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1221, and Franklin, 656 N.E.2d at 750, are mentioned in the discussions of all three categories. 102. See Johnson v. Quarterman, 483 F.3d 278 (5th Cir. 2007); Marquard v. Sec’y for Dep’t of Corrections, 429 F.3d 1278 (11th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, Marquard v. McDonough, 126 S. Ct. 2356 (2006); Landrigan v. Stewart, 272 F.3d 1221 (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007); Mickey v. Ayers, No. C-93-0243 RMW, 2006 WL 3358410 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2006); Hamilton v. Ayers, 458 F. Supp. 2d 1075 (E.D. Cal. 2006); Jones v. Schriro, 450 F. Supp. 2d 1023 (D. Ariz. 2006); Hendricks v. Calderon, 864 F. Supp. 929 (N.D. Cal. 1994), aff’d, 70 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1995); Loving v. United States, 64 M.J. 132 (C.A.A.F. 2006); Head v. Thomason, 578 S.E.2d 426 (Ga. 2003); People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995); Stevens v. State, 770 N.E.2d 739 (Ind. 2002); Benefiel v. State, 716 N.E.2d 906 (Ind. 1999); State v. Ferguson, 20 S.W.3d 485 (Mo. 2000); State v. Ketterer, 855 N.E.2d 48 (Ohio 2006), cert. denied, Ketterer v. Ohio, 127 S. Ct. 2266 (2007); Von Dohlen v. State, 602 S.E.2d 738 (S.C. 2004); Morris v. State, No. W2005-00426-CCAR3-PD, 2006 WL 2872870 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 10, 2006); Keen v. State, No. W200402159-CCA-R3-PD, 2006 WL 1540258 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 5, 2006), cert. denied, Keen v. Tennessee, 127 S. Ct. 2250 (2007); Cauthern v. State, 145 S.W.3d 571 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2004); Alley v. State, 958 S.W.2d 138 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997); Miller v. State, No. 01-0600034-CR, 2007 WL 1559822 (Tex. App. Hous. 1 Dist. May 31, 2007). 103. 578 S.E.2d 426 (Ga. 2003).

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alcohol and drug abuse.”104 In other kinds of cases, defendants succeeded in an ineffective assistance of counsel claim even if it had an outcome a defendant may not have originally intended. For instance, in Stevens v. State,105 defendant’s counsel had presented the defendant as a “passive victim of abuse,” based in part on testimony from a psychologist who stated that the defendant’s genetic predisposition was partly to blame for his behavior.106 The court held that this defense strategy was sound but affirmed the lower court’s denial of postconviction relief because the strategy conflicted with defendant’s alternative claims of ineffective assistance of counsel.107 Stevens is one of a number of cases in which genetics evidence ultimately backfired on a defendant’s efforts toward mitigation when a court accepted its validity. Other ineffective assistance of counsel claims were based on the failure to present behavioral genetics evidence adequately. The court in Von Dohlen v. State108 remanded the defendant’s case due to his counsel’s failure to sufficiently prepare a defense expert witness for sentencing-phase testimony regarding the extent of the defendant’s mental illness.109 The remand was based in part on subsequent testimony from the expert witness that if he had been given certain medical and psychiatric records that were available before the trial, he would have diagnosed the defendant with a far more serious mental illness.110 These records indicated, in part, the defendant’s genetic predisposition for mental disorders.111 In turn, in Mickey v. Ayers,112 the court accepted arguments that the defendant’s counsel was inadequate, not only because defendant’s counsel downplayed the mental health experts,113 but also because the available information would have enabled a forensic psychologist to testify at the penalty phase about the “strong correlation between [defendant’s] genetic history of addictive disorders and predisposition to developing addictions.”114

104. Id. at 429; see also Loving, 64 M.J. at 151–52 (remanding so that an evidentiary hearing could determine whether defendant’s counsel unreasonably dropped a full investigation of mitigating evidence concerning defendant’s abusive family history, including information indicating a “parental and family history of alcoholism and substance addiction”). 105. 770 N.E.2d at 739. 106. Id. at 754. 107. Id. at 755. Stevens, 770 N.E.2d at 739, may be seen as implicit approval of a behavioral genetics defense because the court did not consider a defense theory partially based on genetics evidence to constitute ineffective assistance of counsel. Yet the theory was obviously considered unsuccessful, nonetheless. 108. 602 S.E.2d 738 (S.C. 2004). 109. Id. at 746. 110. Id. at 741. 111. Id. at 741–42. 112. No. C-93-0243 RMW, 2006 WL 3358410 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2006). 113. Id. at *15. 114. Id. at *19.

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Cases like Ayers and Von Dohlen appear to be in the minority, however. In other situations, courts placed less importance on behavioral genetics evidence. In particular, these courts rejected defendants’ petitions or appeals claiming their counsels’ ineffectiveness in failing to offer mitigating genetics evidence during the penalty phase. In State v. Ferguson,115 for example, the defendant argued that his counsel should have investigated and presented information concerning the defendant’s genetic predisposition to a major depressive disorder.116 The court concluded that because sufficient mitigation evidence had been introduced, the loss of this additional predisposition evidence did not constitute ineffective assistance of counsel.117 In Benefiel v. State,118 the genetics evidence involved the defendant’s predisposition to a personality disorder.119 Testimony regarding this predisposition had been offered during the guilt phase, and the court was satisfied that the jury had been able to consider it in the sentencing phase, even though it was not reintroduced; its absence from that phase had therefore not affected the jury’s sentencing recommendation.120 In People v. Franklin,121 the court held that, even if the defendant’s counsel had investigated and offered such mitigating evidence as the defendant’s “family’s history of mental illness and violence,” it would have made no difference to the jury’s recommended sentence.122 Similarly, in Landrigan v. Stewart,123 the Ninth Circuit’s initial decision in the case determined that evidence of the defendant’s alleged

115. 20 S.W.3d 485 (Mo. 2000). 116. Id. at 509. 117. Id.; see also Jones v. Schriro, 450 F. Supp. 2d 1023, 1024 (D. Ariz. 2006) (holding in part that trial counsel’s failure to seek neuropsychological testing did not prejudice defendant, and thus could not amount to ineffective assistance of counsel); Keen v. State, No. W2004-02159-CCA-R3-PD, 2006 WL 1540258, at *46 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 5, 2006), cert. denied, Keen v. Tennessee, 127 S. Ct. 2250 (2007) (concluding that generational evidence of mental illness and substance abuse did not outweigh the aggravating circumtances in the case); State v. Ketterer, 855 N.E.2d 48, 80-81 (Ohio 2006), cert. denied, Ketterer v. Ohio, 127 S. Ct. 2266 (2007) (determining that despite defendant’s evidence of “severe mental problems” which were supported by a genetic connection, aggravating circumstances in the case outweighed mitigating factors). 118. 716 N.E.2d 906 (Ind. 1999). 119. Id. at 913. 120. Id. 121. 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995). 122. Id. at 761; see also Johnson v. Quarterman, 483 F.3d 278, 279-80 (5th Cir. 2007) (disregarding a mitigation specialist’s mention of the defendant’s genetic predisposition to substance abuse and focusing instead on the limited potential impact the defendant’s history of child abuse would have had on a jury). 123. 272 F.3d 1221 (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007).

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genetic predisposition to violence would have been unlikely to affect the outcome of the defendant’s case.124 Landrigan’s procedural aspects, which are described in detail elsewhere,125 are particularly interesting for two reasons: The appellate court opinion cites Mobley as precedent,126 and the case reached the Supreme Court.127 While the Court only briefly analyzed the evidence, even the Court’s limited perspective is nonetheless telling in the context of this Chapter’s other behavioral genetics evidence cases. Timothy Landrigan was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1993,128 one year before Mobley.129 After the Arizona Supreme Court affirmed Landrigan’s conviction and sentence130 and the district court rejected Landrigan’s petition for habeas corpus relief, Landrigan appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.131 Landrigan’s numerous postconviction appeals and petitions were based in part on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, arguing that trial counsel did not investigate and introduce mitigating evidence during the trial and sentencing phases.132 The three-judge appellate panel denied Landrigan’s ineffective assistance of counsel claim and affirmed the district court’s decision.133 Citing Mobley v. Head134 and Turpin v. Mobley,135 the panel emphasized that the “rather exotic . . . genetic violence theory” proposing that “Landrigan’s biological background made him what he is” would not have affected the outcome of his trial, even if the theory had been introduced.136 As the panel explained, “although Landrigan’s new evidence can be called mitigating in some slight sense, it would also have shown the court that it could anticipate that he would continue to be violent.”137 Given Landrigan’s reluctance to express remorse or

124. Id. at 1228. 125. Schriro, 127 S. Ct. at 1937–39; Denno, supra note 23, at 226–29. 126. Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1228 n.4 (citing Turpin v. Mobley, 502 S.E.2d 458, 458 (Ga. 1998)). 127. Schriro, 127 S. Ct. at 1933. 128. State v. Landrigan, 859 P.2d 111, 112 (Ariz. 1993). 129. Turpin, 502 S.E.2d at 460. 130. Landrigan, 859 P.2d at 118. 131. Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1223. 132. Id. at 1228. 133. Id. at 1229. 134. 267 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2001). 135. 502 S.E.2d 458 (Ga. 1998). 136. Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1228 n.4. Landrigan refuted the panel’s reliance on the Mobley cases in a subsequent supplemental brief. Supplemental Brief of PetitionerAppellant at 2, Landrigan v. Stewart, 397 F.3d 1235 (9th Cir. 2005) (No. 00-99011). Citing a wide range of research for support, the brief emphasized that Landrigan’s genetic predisposition does not render violent behavior a certainty but simply indicates a higher risk for antisocial tendencies. Id. at 1. 137. Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1229.

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provide the reasons for his crimes, “assuring the court that genetics made him the way he is could not have been very helpful.”138 After further petitions,139 in 2005, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered that Landrigan’s case be reheard en banc.140 On rehearing, the Court of Appeals affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the case in an opinion that indicated a considerable amount of openness and receptivity concerning Landrigan’s efforts to introduce mitigating genetic and family history evidence.141 Such receptivity was short lived, however. In 2007, on grant of certiorari, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded, forcefully supporting a number of the concerns about Landrigan’s dangerousness that were articulated by the Ninth

138. Id. 139. Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933, 1937–39 (2007); Denno, supra note 23, at 226–29. 140. Landrigan v. Stewart, 397 F.3d 1235, 1235 (9th Cir. 2005). 141. Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638, 650 (9th Cir. 2006). In considering Landrigan’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel in the penalty phase of his capital sentencing proceeding, the en banc court found that Landrigan had “tried and failed, through no fault of his own, to develop the facts supporting his ineffective assistance claim at the state-court level.” Id. at 643. The court noted that Landrigan’s counsel did not develop potential mitigating evidence, including “information regarding his . . . family history of violence.” Id. Also seemingly disregarded was a neuropsychological evaluation revealing that factors including “Landrigan’s genetic makeup” led to “disordered behavior.” Id. at 645. Although the en banc court conceded that Landrigan’s attorney had “prepared to present two mitigation witnesses . . . and Landrigan was unwilling to have these two particular people testify,” the court also noted that “there is no indication that Landrigan would have precluded the introduction of mitigating evidence by other means.” Id. at 646. Indeed, the issue of Landrigan’s willingness to permit other mitigating evidence was never explored, “doubtless because defense counsel had no other evidence to present.” Id. Moreover, the notion that Landrigan prevented his counsel from presenting mitigating evidence is “overly broad,” the result of taking “out of context” the sentencing judge’s questioning of Landrigan. Id. at 647. Finally, the en banc court noted, an attorney must seek mitigating evidence regardless of a client’s desires, and the trial court was required to determine whether Landrigan “[had the] capacity to appreciate his position and make a rational choice with respect to continuing or abandoning further litigation.” Id. Neither Landrigan’s counsel nor the lower court satisfied these obligations. The en banc court thus held Landrigan’s claim of ineffective assistance to be “colorable,” with “proper basis for an evidentiary hearing” and remanded the case to the district court. Id. at 650. The court did, however, “adopt the panel’s holdings with respect to the additional sentencing issues raised in Landrigan’s certificate of appealability.” Id. The dissent, meanwhile, argued against remand due to Landrigan’s failure to demonstrate prejudice. In partial support for this position, the dissent contended that “[t]he mitigating value of any proven genetic predisposition for violence would not have outweighed its aggravating tendency to suggest Landrigan was undeterrable and, even from prison, would present a future danger to society.” Id. at 651.

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Circuit’s initial decision.142 Addressing Landrigan’s alleged genetic predisposition to violence, for example, the Court found it “difficult to improve upon the initial Court of Appeals panel’s conclusion” that Landrigan “‘not only failed to show remorse or offer mitigating evidence, but he flaunted his menacing behavior’”; therefore, “‘assuring the court that genetics made him the way he is could not have been very helpful.’”143 Describing Landrigan’s mitigation evidence as “weak,” and noting that “the postconviction court was well acquainted with Landrigan’s exceedingly violent past and had seen first hand his belligerent behavior,” the Court concluded that the District Court did not abuse its discretion “in declining to grant Landrigan an evidentiary hearing.”144 The final outcome of Landrigan could have implications for other kinds of behavioral genetics evidence cases, irrespective of the types of factors they may try to introduce.145 Like Mobley, Landrigan touches on many of the key and varied issues pertaining to behavioral genetics evidence. At the same time, the Court has in no way dismissed the potential applicability of behavioral genetics evidence in cases where the Court may perceive the evidence as more acceptable and the defendant more remorseful. While the Court does not provide a test or standard suggesting how it may weigh such information in the future, the Court does suggest that there are particular aspects of Landrigan’s history and demeanor that may have prompted the Court’s final determination in a way that other defendants may avoid. It is also helpful to put Landrigan in context with other behavioral genetics and crime cases. In Hendricks v. Calderon,146 for example, the court remanded because defense counsel had not offered mitigating evidence of the defendant’s predisposition to mental illness during the penalty phase.147 In doing so, the

142. Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933, 1936 (2007). The Supreme Court also disagreed with the en banc court’s opinion regarding Landrigan’s refusal to permit the introduction of mitigating evidence, finding that Landrigan “plainly . . . informed his counsel not to present any mitigating evidence.” Id. at 1935. Given that much of the testimony of the proffered witnesses would have “overlap[ped] with the evidence Landrigan now wants to present,” the Supreme Court held it to be clearly established that “Landrigan would have undermined the presentation of any mitigating evidence that his attorney might have uncovered.” Id. at 1941. With regard to the question of whether “Landrigan’s decision not to present mitigating evidence was ‘informed and knowing,’” the Supreme Court noted first that “[w]e have never imposed [such a] requirement upon a defendant’s decision not to introduce evidence,” and then proceeded to outline several additional reasons that the claim was without merit. Id. at 1942 (citations omitted). 143. Id. at 1944 (citations omitted). 144. Id. 145. See infra Part V. 146. 70 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1995). 147. 70 F.3d at 1045. The court rejected the defendant’s claim that his counsel was ineffective for failing to present this same evidence during the guilt phase. Id.

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court suggested that mitigating evidence regarding the defendant’s “difficult life” (including his genetic predisposition to mental illness) might have affected the case’s outcome regarding sentencing.148 This argument was at odds with the reasoning in Benefiel, Landrigan, and Franklin, in which behavioral genetics evidence had been offered and admitted.149 Conversely, behavioral genetics evidence suggesting a predisposition to impulsive behavior was proffered by the defendant’s counsel but omitted by the trial court in Cauthern v. State.150 In rejecting the defendant’s claim that he was prejudiced by the omission of this mitigating evidence, the court noted that the defendant’s stepsiblings experienced similarly abusive upbringings but did not appear to suffer from violent inclinations.151 Alley v. State152 was comparatively dismissive of behavioral genetics evidence.153 But the court readily accepted the testimony of medical experts who saw no need to investigate the possibility of genetic problems during their evaluation of the defendant despite their statements that he suffered from various physical problems that could potentially “point to a syndrome with genetic origin.”154 The experts’ decision was particularly notable given their acknowledgment that certain genetic conditions can potentially influence people’s behavior.155

148. Id. 149. The reasoning in Hendricks markedly contrasts with the arguments presented in State v. Hartman, 476 S.E.2d 328 (N.C. 1996). Hartman argued the trial court’s restructuring of his requested jury instruction regarding his family history of alcoholism prevented the jury from considering relevant mitigating evidence—specifically, Hartman’s genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse. Id. at 342. The trial court instead submitted the following instruction: “‘Consider whether the defendant is an alcoholic.’” Id. Stated this way, Hartman posited, the jury “‘was more likely’” to view Hartman’s alcoholism “‘simply as weakness or unmitigated choice.’” Id. The court rejected this argument, holding that a “catchall mitigating circumstance” instruction that had been submitted was sufficient to address any such concerns. Id. 150. 145 S.W.3d 571, 613 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2004). Cauthern appealed the denial of his petition for post-conviction relief based in part on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at his earlier sentencing hearings: his psychiatric expert witness at the postconviction hearing testified that mitigation evidence could have been presented of Cauthern’s family history suggesting a genetic predisposition to impulsive behavior. Id. at 588. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the denial of postconviction relief, holding any shortcomings by counsel would have made no difference to the outcome. Id. at 578. 151. Id. at 609. 152. 958 S.W.2d 138 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997). 153. Id. at 149–50. 154. Id. at 143. A mental health program specialist explained that these problems appeared to be unrelated to Alley’s defense of multiple personality disorder and thus did not merit further investigation. Id. 155. Id. A psychologist who had examined Alley testified that “genetic defects would possibly affect behavior,” but noted that “at the time of the evaluation . . . the team deemed as unnecessary any investigation of genetic problems.” Id.

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2. Proof and Diagnosis of Genetic Conditions A second use of behavioral genetics evidence is to prove or support a diagnosis of a genetic condition. The cases in which behavioral genetics evidence was employed for this purpose demonstrate the challenges of applying legal principles to complex scientific information. According to the concurring opinion in Dennis ex rel. Butko v. Budge,156 for example, courts have difficulty distinguishing mental illness from “the myriad . . . memories, experiences and genetic predispositions that go to make up each individual’s unique personality.”157 Likewise, “judges and lawyers attempt to capture these philosophical dilemmas in words that can have very different meanings to different people, and that often may not respect the concepts that mental health professionals would use to capture cognitive and volitional capacity.”158 These challenges have been well documented over the years.159 For one, courts are reluctant to embrace behavioral genetics evidence, which may be due in part to the seemingly arbitrary standards for determining what constitutes mitigation and the vague criteria for diagnosis of genetic conditions. Even among the sizable number of cases analyzed in this Chapter for example, there is great variety in the types of mitigating factors proposed.160 In most cases in which the defendant’s counsel offers behavioral genetics evidence, the information consists almost wholly of the defendant’s family history.161 It stands to reason, of course, that a defendant’s family members could suffer from the same genetic condition(s) as the defendant. Yet proof limited to family history seems to invite responses such as that of the Tennessee Court of

156. 378 F.3d 880 (9th Cir. 2004). 157. Id. at 895. 158. Id. 159. See Denno, supra note 2, for an overview of some of these challenges. 160. See infra app. A, chart 2; app. B. These types of mitigating factors include predispositions to alcoholism, depression, impulsive behavior, violence, and aggression. See infra app. A, chart 2; supra note 84 (discussing the different types of genetics evidence). The conditions range from the specific (such as XXY syndrome, porphyria, and bipolar disorder) to the general (for example, mental disorders, personality disorders, mood disorders, and “genetic defects”). See infra app. A, chart 2; supra note 96 (listing the ways behavioral genetics evidence validates the existence of serious conditions). 161. See, e.g., Landrigan v. Stewart, 272 F.3d 1221 (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007). Hendricks v. Calderon, 864 F. Supp. 929 (N.D. Cal. 1994), aff’d, 70 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1995); People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995); Sanchez v. Ryan, 734 N.E.2d 920 (Ill. App. Ct. 2000); State v. Hartman, 476 S.E.2d 328 (N.C. 1996); State v. Hughbanks, 792 N.E.2d 1081 (Ohio 2003); Cauthern v. State, 145 S.W.3d 571 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2004); Davis v. State, No. M2003-00744-CCA-R3-PC, 2004 WL 253396 (Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 11, 2004); State v. Maraschiello, 88 S.W.3d 586 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2000); Morris v. State, No. W2005-00426-CCA-R3-PD, 2006 WL 2872870 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 10, 2006).

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Criminal Appeals, which emphasized in Cauthern that the defendant’s stepsiblings did not suffer from the alleged predisposition.162 Even in cases such as State v. Hughbanks,163 in which the court acknowledged the negative effects of a family history of mental illness on a defendant, such mitigating evidence does not appear likely to affect the outcome of the case.164 In some circumstances, proving a genetic predisposition through family history may even backfire. In rejecting the defendant’s ineffective assistance claim in Landrigan, the initial Ninth Circuit decision set forth a proposition eventually echoed by the Supreme Court: “It is highly doubtful that the sentencing court would have been moved by information that [the defendant] was a remorseless, violent killer because he was genetically programmed to be violent, as shown by the fact that he comes from a family of violent people, who are killers also.”165 Citing Franklin,166 the Ninth Circuit further warned, “although [defendant’s] new evidence can be called mitigating in some slight sense, it would also have shown the court that it could anticipate that he would continue to be violent.”167 Of course, this argument takes on a double-edged-sword rationale that wrongly

162. Cauthern, 145 S.W.3d at 609. 163. 792 N.E.2d at 1101–03. 164. Id. at 1104. In Hughbanks and at least two other cases, State v. Spivey, 692 N.E.2d 151 (Ohio 1998), and State v. Wilson, No. Civ.A. 92CA005396, 1994 WL 558568 (Ohio Ct. App. Oct. 12, 1994), the courts did not expressly reject mitigating evidence regarding genetics, but held that the aggravating circumstances of the crime outweighed any mitigating factors. The appellate court in Hughbanks appeared to include “genetic tendency” among the defendant’s relevant background factors. 792 N.E.2d at 1101. It acknowledged that many of Hughbanks’s family members suffered from mental illness and noted the likely negative effect on his “growth and development.” Id. at 1103. Yet the court found that the aggravating circumstances of the crime outweighed such mitigating factors. Id. at 1104. Family history was not specifically offered as proof of a genetics defense in Spivey and Wilson. Spivey involved a diagnosis of XYY syndrome. 692 N.E.2d at 165. A defense expert testified that although the syndrome itself does not cause aggression, the defendant’s family environment exacerbated his condition and resulted in his criminal behavior. Id. Wilson merely listed the defendant’s genetic predisposition to alcoholism among the mitigating factors presented during the penalty phase and offered no further information concerning its origins. 1994 WL 558568, at *13 n.5. 165. Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1228–29. 166. People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995). 167. Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1229. The Franklin court further concluded the following: The proffered evidence regarding defendant’s psychological problems and his family’s violent and psychological history was not inherently mitigating. Although this evidence could have evoked compassion in the jurors, it could have also demonstrated defendant’s potential for future dangerousness and the basis for defendant’s past criminal acts. The evidence of defendant’s mental illness may also have shown that defendant was less deterrable or that society needed to be protected from him. 656 N.E.2d at 761 (citations omitted).

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presumes a genetic attribute is static.168 Despite the questionable accuracy of this presumption, such approaches appear to be highly persuasive to courts and the public alike. Nor does genetics evidence appear to flag the attention of the trial court when proof other than family history is offered. In Arausa v. State,169 the defendant had requested appointment of a psychiatrist in part to help him assess the mitigation value of a research study that indicated a genetic predisposition among victims of abuse to become abusers.170 The appellate court skirted the genetics issue, finding no error in the trial court’s rejecting the defendant’s request: the defendant’s original request for a court-appointed medical health expert had been based on a need to analyze the defendant’s competency, not the research study.171 In State v. Maraschiello,172 the defendant claimed his genetic predisposition for a delusional disorder (as demonstrated by his family history) was exacerbated by Gulf War syndrome.173 This appellate court also followed the lead of the trial court in avoiding the matter of genetics. The testimony pertaining to Gulf War syndrome had been excluded on unrelated grounds, and the defendant’s alleged predisposition did not come up again at trial (or on appeal).174 Only in Hendricks v. Calderon175 did an appellate court consider it a mistake not to offer as mitigation evidence pretrial hearing testimony on the defendant’s genetic predisposition to mental illness and its aggravation by an abusive childhood.176 3. Future Dangerousness Evidence regarding genetic predispositions brings with it the third use of genetics evidence in criminal law: the debate over the prediction of future dangerousness,177 as discussed in Franklin178 and Landrigan.179 In many of the cases this Chapter analyzes, genetics evidence takes the form of 168. See infra Part V for further discussion of this issue in the context of additional conceptual problems with the genetics evidence cases. 169. No. 07-02-0396-CR, 2003 WL 21803322, at *1 (Tex. App. Aug. 6, 2003), aff’g State v. Arausa, No. 2002-439113 (Dist. Ct. Lubbock County July 5, 2002). 170. Id. at *2. 171. Id. at *4. More generally, the court did not consider the request for a psychiatrist to be relevant to the defense. Id. 172. 88 S.W.3d 586 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2000). 173. Id. at 599. On appeal, Maraschiello claimed in part that the trial court had wrongfully excluded testimony that he suffered from the syndrome. Id. at 590. 174. Id. at 599–611. 175. 864 F. Supp. 929 (N.D. Cal. 1994), aff’d, 70 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1995). 176. Id. at 934–35. 177. Future dangerousness and other issues raised by genetics evidence are discussed in People v. Rodriguez, 764 N.Y.S.2d 305 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2003), which concerns defendants’ privacy rights in the context of the recent trend to collect DNA samples. See supra note 89 for a more detailed account of Rodriguez. 178. People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750, 761 (Ill. 1995). 179. Landrigan v. Stewart, 272 F.3d 1221, 1228–29 (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007).

346 the impact of behavioral sciences on criminal law

an individual’s predisposition toward some condition or behavior.180 This approach does not, of course, guarantee that the afflicted individual will develop that condition or engage in that behavior; it indicates merely that the likelihood of occurrence may be heightened. For example, in State v. Spivey,181 the doctor who diagnosed the appellant with XYY syndrome testified that this abnormality put the defendant “at risk for committing criminal acts, but that the syndrome itself did not cause him to be aggressive and to commit violent acts.”182 Instead, the defendant’s family environment was faulted for triggering his preexisting tendencies toward violence.183 The issue of future dangerousness was explored in further detail in State v. DeAngelo,184 in which several psychiatrists evaluated the mental condition of an individual who had been acquitted of criminal charges because he was unable to recognize or control the wrongfulness of his behavior.185 The evaluating experts disagreed on their diagnoses and treatment recommendations for the individual, as well as on their assessment of the risk he posed to the public if released.186 The court ultimately determined that the individual should be committed to a maximum security psychiatric unit because he was a danger to society.187 As the court stated, “[p]sychiatric predictions of future dangerousness, while of some value, must not be unduly relied upon. The court’s main concern must be the protection of society, and not necessarily therapeutic goals.”188 DeAngelo and comparable kinds of cases189 illustrate the strain between the legal and mental health fields when they consider genetic information. Such tension is accentuated because genetics evidence is typically introduced into trials through

180. See infra app. A, chart 2; app. B. 181. 692 N.E.2d 151 (Ohio 1998). 182. Id. at 165. 183. Id. 184. No. CR 97010866S, 2000 WL 973104, at *2 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 20, 2000). 185. Id. at *1. 186. Id. at *3–6. One psychiatrist testified that DeAngelo “need[ed] supervision; especially if he has a genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder.” Id. at *6. He concluded that “if [DeAngelo] suffer[ed] another manic episode, he could be dangerous to himself and dangerous to others.” Id. 187. Id. at *11. 188. Id. 189. See, e.g., People v. Allaway, No. G030307, 2003 WL 22147632 (Cal. App. 4 Dist. Sept. 18, 2003). In Allaway, behavioral genetics evidence worked against the defendant for purposes of evaluating future dangerousness. Allaway’s application for transfer from a state mental hospital to an outpatient treatment facility was denied in part based on the testimony of an independent evaluator who stated that Allaway had a “genetic predisposition” to mental illness and psychotic behavior. Id. at *3. The court seemed to accept the genetics link, albeit in a way that ensured a negative result for the defendant.

behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases: 1994–2007 347

testimony from mental health professionals.190 Establishing consistent criteria for assessing the expertise of these witnesses is therefore likely to be a critical step toward the general acceptance of behavioral genetics evidence. In DeAngelo,191 for example, the court questioned the credentials and objectivity of at least one testifying psychiatrist.192 In turn, the court in People v. Hammerli193 likewise seemed dubious of the defense’s expert witness testimony.194 The court emphasized that although the defendant’s treating psychiatrist had diagnosed the defendant with depression (yet had noted improvement), all four defense experts “found defendant to be legally insane at the time of the murder and were able with hindsight to fit defendant’s actions into their various diagnoses.”195 As the court explained, each of the experts detected “in defendant’s behavior facts to support [that expert’s] own opinion.”196 In Billiot v. State,197 the court exhibited a more overt lack of deference toward the treating mental health expert, who diagnosed the defendant with a genetic predisposition. Instead, the court relied on the combined testimony of the majority of expert witnesses in determining that the defendant was competent to be executed.198 Acknowledging that the lone, treating mental health expert who testified otherwise “had done more recent and more extensive research on the issue of [defendant’s] sanity,” the court nonetheless refused to give that witness’s testimony greater weight than that of the other witnesses.199 In People v. Armstrong,200 the court concluded that a social worker lacked the expertise to testify concerning the defendant’s genetic predisposition to alcoholism.201 Perhaps Armstrong could be interpreted as indicating that the genetic predisposition evidence might have received greater consideration if the testifying witness had had the necessary expertise. Even among qualified experts, however, conflicting diagnoses are another factor likely to hinder general acceptance of behavioral genetics evidence. The drawbacks of such incongruity are indicated in cases such as Hall v. State.202 In Hall, psychologists for the defense testified that the defendant suffered from various genetic afflictions; in contrast, the state’s psychologist offered directly opposing testimony, asserting that the defendant did not exhibit the symptoms 190. See infra app. A, chart 3; app. B. 191. No. CR 97010866S, 2000 WL 973014 (Conn. Super. June 20, 2000). 192. Id. at *11. 193. 662 N.E.2d 452 (Ill. App. Ct. 1996). 194. Id. at 458. 195. Id. 196. Id. 197. 655 So. 2d 1 (Miss. 1995). 198. Id. at 17. 199. Id. at 13. 200. 700 N.E.2d 960 (Ill. 1998). 201. Id. at 970. 202. 160 S.W.3d 24 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004) (en banc).

348 the impact of behavioral sciences on criminal law

of any such disorders.203 Not surprisingly, courts are quick to point out such disparities. The DeAngelo204 court, for example, noted the psychiatrists’ inability to agree on a diagnosis of the defendant,205 an outcome that encouraged the court to have him committed.206 Overall, this analysis of the last 13 years of behavioral genetics evidence cases shows how courts generally have continued to constrain the admissibility or use of genetic factors, even as mitigation in the penalty phase of a death penalty trial. Thus, there is little overt indication that behavioral genetics evidence has reinforced concerns expressed in the context of Mobley, most particularly worries that actors in the criminal justice system would increasingly and irresponsibly rely on such evidence in their decision making. So far, evidentiary rules and procedures continue to keep the evidence in a relatively safe place substantively. Therefore, a concern may be that defendants do not have available the full range of mitigating factors to which they are constitutionally entitled in death penalty cases. Indeed, concerns over behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases can also prove to be a red herring of sorts, deflecting attention from the realization that courts can genetically stereotype defendants irrespective of any attempt made by those defendants to submit genetics arguments. In State v. Madey,207 for example, the defendant, who pled guilty to misdemeanor assault after two police officers tried to take her into protective custody for public intoxication,208 challenged the court’s probation requirements, one of which mandated that she

203. Id. at 30. Hall submitted affidavits from two psychologists stating that he was mentally retarded. Id. at 32. One affidavit described Hall’s appearance as typical of fetal alcohol syndrome and stated that he also exhibited characteristics resembling other genetic disorders (e.g., XXY), which had existed at birth. Id. at 33. The State submitted a rebuttal affidavit from a neuropsychologist who had testified during the guilt phase of the trial. Id. at 35. This witness explicitly stated that Hall did not exhibit symptoms of such genetic disorders. Id. The habeas trial court concluded that Hall was not mentally retarded, and therefore denied relief. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals determined that the trial court was in the best position to evaluate conflicting evidence regarding the defendant’s mental state, and thus affirmed the trial court’s decision. Id. at 40. 204. No. CR 97010866S, 2000 WL 973104 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 20, 2000). 205. Id. at *11. 206. Id. In addition, there is no assurance that the expert’s testimony is going to satisfy the tough legal standards for mental state even if that testimony is considered credible. See, e.g., State v. Idellfonso-Diaz, No. M2006-00203-CCA-R9-CD, 2006 WL 3093207 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 1, 2006) (remanding decision of trial court) (rendering testimony inadmissible because the impairment at issue was not sufficiently detrimental to negate the defendant’s mental capacity to commit the crimes). 207. State v. Madey, No. 81166, 2002-Ohio-5976, 2002 WL 31429827 (Ohio App. 8 Dist. Oct. 31, 2002) (vacating and remanding sentencing decision of trial court). 208. Id. at *1.

behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases: 1994–2007 349

write an essay on “alcoholism and American Indians.”209 The requirements were also made in the context of the court’s numerous and unsubstantiated comments about Madey’s ethnic proclivity for alcoholism. These comments included asking Madey’s mother whether “she knew ‘anything about genetic predisposition to alcoholism?’” or “if she had ‘ever been on an Indian reservation?’ and if she had ever seen ‘the Scotch or Irish drinking?’”210 The court even asked the mother whether she “had a concern that her daughter would become ‘a flaming alcoholic’ because, with such an ethnic background, ‘there [was] nothing she can do about it.’”211 In turn, the court continually speculated about the degree of the defendant’s future dangerousness, even characterizing the defendant’s potential state of being a murder victim as a danger to others: “[I]f you start drinking like this, you’re a danger. You will go out and get yourself attacked, or murdered, or something, and put yourself in these hopeless conditions, which is a bad example, and every time somebody is killed or raped in society, that diminishes the public safety overall.”212 In vacating the defendant’s sentence and remanding, the appellate court noted that not only were the trial court’s comments completely unrelated “to an interest in doing justice,” but that the defendant did not “[attempt] to use her family background to excuse her behavior.”213 The genetic stereotyping was in the court’s eyes only, a potential cause for concern in any case, no matter the defense or evidentiary circumstances.

v. concluding comments In 1994, Mobley v. State214 garnered substantial notice because of defense counsel’s strenuous efforts to test for genetics evidence for mitigation in Stephen Mobley’s death penalty case.215 According to some commentators at the time, if such testing had been allowed, it could encourage political and moral abuses of such highly controversial information.216 Yet the survey here of the 48 cases that have used behavioral genetics evidence in the 13 years following Mobley shows 209. Id. at *2. 210. Id. at *1. 211. Id. 212. Id. at *2. 213. Id. at *4. 214. 455 S.E.2d 61 (Ga. 1995). 215. See supra note 12 and accompanying text. 216. See Denno, supra note 2, at 254 (outlining the political and moral concerns over genetics evidence); see also supra note 12 (discussing potential abuses in the context of the Mobley case); infra note 219 (discussing potential abuses in the context of the 1995 University of Maryland conference on The Meaning and Significance of Research on Genetics and Criminal Behavior).

350 the impact of behavioral sciences on criminal law

no apparent basis for these worries.217 When attorneys do attempt to introduce such evidence during the penalty phase of a death penalty trial, most courts still question its applicability, an approach that is also seemingly followed by the Supreme Court’s position in Landrigan.218 In essence, since Mobley, little has changed legally in the area of behavioral genetics and crime. The topic remains controversial for many of the same reasons it did 13 years ago.219 Likewise, the press and public still seem confused about the meaning and role of mitigating evidence in death penalty cases.220 217. See supra Part IV; infra app. B. 218. 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007). 219. Few conferences on the topic of genetics and crime have occurred since the Ciba symposium. For example, shortly after the Ciba symposium took place, the University of Maryland held a conference on The Meaning and Significance of Research on Genetics and Criminal Behavior. David Wasserman, a legal scholar and organizer of the conference, noted at the time, “There are a hell of a lot of people attending this conference who think the dangers of genetic research are as great in the long term as the dangers of atomic energy.” Pezzella, supra note 3; see also Wade Roush, Conflict Marks Crime Conference, 269 SCIENCE 1808, 1808 (1995) (“The [Maryland] conference . . . has been protested, canceled, rescheduled, and otherwise dogged by controversy ever since it was first planned . . .”). Previously, the conference had been cancelled because of the controversial nature of the topic. Abraham, supra note 2 (“In 1992, just a year before Mr. Summer seized on the Dutch family study, the U.S. National Institutes of Health cancelled a conference on crime and genetics at the University of Maryland after black groups protested that such research was racially motivated.”); Cookson, supra note 16, at 8 (“Public pressure forced the US National Institutes of Health to cancel a conference on [genetics and behavior] in 1992 after opponents of the research detected racial overtones in some of the proposed contributions.”); Pezzella, supra note 3 (“Even participants [of the Maryland conference] found the meeting somewhat distasteful. Paul R. Billings, a professor at Stanford University . . . said he feared the current concentration on genetics could bring back the kind of eugenics movement that was espoused by the Nazis.”); Richard W. Stevenson, Researchers See Gene Link To Violence But Are Wary, N.Y. TIMES, Feb. 19, 1995, at 29 (“[The Maryland] conference was called off after critics said that it was too accepting of the idea that inherited personality traits were the primary causes of crime and violence and that it would promote the notion that criminals could be identified by genetic markers.”); Tom Wilkie, Scientist Denounces Criminal Gene Theory, INDEPENDENT (London), Feb. 13, 1995, HOME, at 2 (“‘[The Maryland conference] was seen as overtly racist.’”). 220. This confusion was particularly apparent at the time of the Stephen Mobley case. Some news media referred to the genetics evidence as a culpability defense, not as a basis for mitigation. See Moosajee, supra note 12, at 213; Robert Davis, ‘We Live in an Age of Exotic Defenses’, USA TODAY, Nov. 22, 1994, at 1A (“Stephen Mobley blames his genes for making him kill. . . . [E]xperts say these defenses are typical of the bizarre and unusual rationales that increasingly are being heard in courtrooms across the USA as defendants try to find something—anything—to blame.”); Felsenthal, supra note 3 (“In a novel and highly controversial defense, [Mobley’s lawyers] are arguing that Mr. Mobley’s genes may have predisposed him to commit crimes.”); Holmquist, supra note 2; Marrin, supra note 2. But see Abraham, supra note 2 (“[P]eople are concerned [the argument] nullifies the idea

behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases: 1994–2007 351

A key question remains, however. What is the overall framework courts use to rationalize their skepticism regarding behavioral genetics evidence? Not all courts have viewed genetics evidence negatively. In Von Dohlen v. State,221 for example, the court considered such information (in conjunction with other evidence) sufficiently compelling to remand the defendant’s case for resentencing: the defendant’s counsel had not provided a testifying expert with records that indicated, among other things, the defendant’s genetic predisposition for mental disorder.222 Von Dohlen is one of a number of exceptions,223 however, among a larger group of cases that have considered behavioral genetics evidence either insignificant or possibly indicative of a defendant’s continuing violent tendencies. As in Mobley, courts have provided various reasons for excluding a defendant’s offer of behavioral genetics information, including the following: (1) counsel had already submitted sufficient mitigation evidence and additional data on the defendant’s genetic proclivities would probably not have affected the outcome of the defendant’s case;224 (2) genetics evidence has questionable credibility when compared to other evidence introduced at trial,225 particularly when testimony from different experts conflicts;226 (3) the theory of a link between genetics and violence is “unorthodox”227 or “exotic”;228 (4) genetics evidence can cut against a defendant’s case because it suggests the defendant will continue to be violent;229

of free will and responsibility. But I’m not using it as a defence, per se, but as a mitigating factor—you know, ‘If you’re thinking about putting this guy to death, think about this.’”) (quoting Daniel Summer); Connor, supra note 2 (“‘There is no legal defence to his crime,’ says . . . Mobley’s attorney. There is only the mitigating factor of his family history.’”). On occasion, the media also assumed Mobley founded his appeal on having a genetic disorder, although the appeal was based on the denial of his motion for funding to test for any genetic disorder. See Boseley, supra note 3; Malik, supra note 12. 221. 602 S.E.2d 738 (S.C. 2004). 222. Id. at 741–46. 223. See also supra notes 175–76 and accompanying text discussing Hendricks v. Calderon, 864 F. Supp. 929 (N.D. Cal. 1994), aff’d, 70 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1995). For other exceptions, see Mickey v. Ayers, No. C-93-0243 RMW, 2006 WL 3358410 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2006); Loving v. United States, 64 M.J. 132 (C.A.A.F. 2006); and Head v. Thomason, 578 S.E.2d 426 (Ga. 2003). 224. See, e.g., Landrigan v. Stewart, 272 F.3d 1221 (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007). Mobley v. State, 455 S.E.2d 61 (Ga. 1995); People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995); State v. Ferguson, 20 S.W.3d 485 (Mo. 2000). 225. People v. Hammerli, 662 N.E.2d 452 (Ill. App. Ct. 1996); Cauthern v. State, 145 S.W.3d 571 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2004). 226. Hall v. State, 160 S.W.3d 24, 26 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004) (en banc). 227. Turpin v. Mobley, 502 S.E.2d 458, 463 (Ga. 1998). 228. Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1228 n.4. 229. Id. at 1229.

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and (5) genetics evidence does not comport with some courts’ theories of criminal responsibility, which may emphasize, for example, the protection of society over “therapeutic goals.”230 There is little or negligible foundation for any of these five rationales, however. First, there is only a fragile basis for questioning the credibility or impact of behavioral genetics evidence when such evidence is so rarely admitted into court. Indeed, part of the controversy over the admissibility of behavioral genetics research has usually involved the opposite claim—that because of its aura of scientific sophistication and precision, genetics information would weigh too heavily on a jury and have a disproportionate effect on a case’s disposition. The extent of this influence would be particularly significant if the evidence were compared to other, more traditionally accepted, mitigating information.231 For example, there are compelling arguments that some behavioral genetics evidence could be relevant and useful if applied in a limited way, such as buttressing other proffered mitigating conditions,232 as in cases when the defendant’s veracity concerning the existence of a condition is questioned.233 Likewise, courts’ rendering of genetic factors as “unorthodox” or “exotic” is ironic, given that courts themselves perpetuate this supposed status of unusualness. Regardless, a factor need not be conventional in order for it to be considered mitigating. The claim of “exoticism” is also dubious on its face. Genetics evidence has a long history in legal cases,234 even if that past was controversial or has seemingly been forgotten by modern courts, such as those deciding Mobley v. State235 and Landrigan v. Stewart.236 In turn, this Chapter’s survey has uncovered a sizable number of such cases over the past 13 years. The double-edged-sword aspect of behavioral genetics evidence stressed by some courts237 has also long been acknowledged. But this dilemma characterizes many other mitigating factors, for example, those available to juvenile offenders. In Roper v. Simmons,238 the Supreme Court held that the Eighth and Fourteenth

230. State v. DeAngelo, No. CR 97010866S, 2000 WL 973104, at *11 (Conn. Super. Ct. June 20, 2000). 231. Denno, supra note 2, at 253–54; see also supra note 85 and accompanying text (discussing the five stated problems concerning the use of genetics evidence in criminal cases). 232. See supra note 96 (listing the ways that genetics evidence validates the existence of a serious condition); infra app. B. 233. See infra app. B (listing Alley v. State, 958 S.W.2d 138, 142 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997) and Billiot v. State, 655 So. 2d 1, 8 (Miss. 1995)). 234. See supra note 81 and accompanying text. 235. 455 S.E.2d 61 (Ga. 1995). 236. 272 F.3d 1221 (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v. Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007). 237. See Denno, supra note 2, at 254. 238. 543 U.S. 551 (2005).

behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases: 1994–2007 353

Amendments prohibited the execution of persons aged younger than 18 at the time their crimes were committed.239 The Court reasoned that relative to adults, juveniles are more immature and irresponsible, vulnerable to negative pressures from their peers and environment, and fragile and unstable in their identities.240 Although these disparities explained why juveniles may be less culpable, they also heightened the likelihood that juveniles would engage in impulsive thinking and criminality.241 In other words, the very factors that argued against juveniles’ eligibility for the death penalty also made them more prone to misconduct. Youth can be a double-edged sword, although the Court has taken steps to contain that possibility. Similarly, courts that exclude behavioral genetics evidence because it does not mesh with their theory of criminal responsibility seemingly confuse the requirements for mitigating evidence with other criminal law doctrines. This problem also arose when the media covered the Mobley case. Basically, some journalists and commentators treated mitigation in a death penalty case synonymously with criminal defenses pertaining to a defendant’s culpability.242 The admissibility criteria for mitigation, however, are far more encompassing than criminal defenses because the criteria serve substantially different goals.243 Part of the general difficulty with these cases also involves courts’ apparent ignorance of the interactions among social, biological, and genetic variables. As this Chapter has noted, however, biological, genetic, and social variables are highly interactive and difficult to separate without creating artificial categories.244 Overall, this Chapter has taken a relatively narrow view of the use of behavioral genetics evidence, thereby excluding or limiting a number of topics of interest: (1) the question of whether such evidence should be applied outside the context of mitigation in death penalty cases; (2) the doctrinal differences in how the evidence has been implemented within the mitigation context (for example, the differences between the evidentiary requirements necessary for proving a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel as opposed to future dangerousness); (3) a comparison of courts’ treatment of behavioral genetic factors with other kinds of social and behavioral research (even though much of the criticism of behavioral genetics evidence could pertain to social science evidence in general); (4) a comparison of the different types of genetics factors used in cases; and (5) an analysis of the broader philosophical debates and exchanges concerning

239. Id. at 578 (“The Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments forbid imposition of the death penalty on offenders who were under the age of 18 when their crimes were committed.”). 240. Id. at 569–70. 241. Id. 242. See supra note 220 and accompanying text. 243. See supra note 93 and accompanying text. 244. See supra note 88 and accompanying text.

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the role of behavioral genetic factors in the criminal justice system and theoretical models of criminal responsibility. All these issues are significant, but they exceed this Chapter’s scope. At the same time, the topic of behavioral genetics and crime will not go away. Although courts do not appear to be exploiting genetics information in the way commentators on Mobley feared, the criminal justice system still lacks a sound conceptual framework for handling behavioral genetics research no matter what it decides to do with it. The warnings of the past are important to heed. As surveyed attorneys agreed over a decade ago in the context of Mobley, “the question is not if this kind of genetic testing is admissible as mitigating evidence in criminal trials, but when.”245

245. Mark Curriden, His Lawyer Says It’s in the Killer’s Genes, NAT’L L.J., Nov. 7, 1994, at A12.

appendices to chapter 10: behavioral genetics evidence in criminal cases: 1994–2007 deborah w. denno appendix a: charts 1–3 chart 1 severity of sentencing by number of cases Death (37)

SENTENCE

Life (3) Case remanded (3) Acquitted (1) 35 years (1) 28 years (1) Driving license revoked (1) Transfer from mental hospital denied (1) 0

10

20

NUMBER OF CASES

30

40

466 deborah w. denno

chart 2 reasons for introducing genetics evidence by number of cases Mental illness/disorder/difficulties/impairment (10) Alcoholism/alcohol abuse/alcohol dependency (7) Substance abuse/chemical dependency* (5) Depression (5) Mood disorder/emotional impairment (4) Psychopathy/antisocial personality** (3) Bipolar disorder (3) Schizophrenia (3)

TYPES OF CONDITION EVIDENCE

Porphyria (2) Predisposition towards violence (2) Extra Y chromosome (XYY) (2) Klinefelter's syndrome (XXY) (1) Fragile X syndrome (1) Inherited tolerances (1) Used to differentiate from mental illness (1) Serious psychiatric disorders (1) Violence towards women (1) Propensity of abused to become abusers (1) Physical abnormalities (1) Personality disorders (1) Schizotypal personality disorder (1) Dissociative disorder (1) Delusional disorder (1) Multiple personality disorder (1) Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (1) Pedophilia (1) Neurosis (1) Impulsive behavior (1) Fetal alcohol syndrome (1) 0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

NUMBER OF CASES * Cases in this category appear to refer to alcohol and drugs combined; in addition to abuse and dependency, they may also refer to addictions. ** Cases in this category may refer more specifically to antisocial characteristics and psychotic behavior.

appendices 467

chart 3 nature of evidence sought to be admitted by number of cases

NATURE OF EVIDENCE

Expert evaluation (30) Family history (25) Medical records (5) Behavioral history (3) Medical studies (3) Medical testing (1) No evidence (1) Not described (1) 0

5

10

15

20

NUMBER OF CASES

25

30

468 deborah w. denno

appendix b: cases referencing genetics evidence, 1994 to june 1, 2007 Case

Summary

Comments

Miller v. State, No. 01-0600034-CR, 2007 WL 1559822 (Tex. App. Hous. 1 Dist. May 31, 2007).

Miller was convicted of aggravated robbery. 2007 WL 1559822, at *1. His appeal was based in part on a claim of ineffective assistance of trial counsel. The appellate court affirmed. Id. At the punishment phase, Miller’s mother testified that various family members, including Miller, had been diagnosed with a genetic condition that “can cause rapidly changing behavior,” including paranoia and anxiety. Id. at *2.

Miller’s mother testified that Miller and other family members had been diagnosed with the genetic condition, “acute intermittent porphyria.” Id. at *2. The appellate court did not refer to this condition in affirming the lower court’s decision. Genetics evidence, then, was mentioned only in passing.

People v. Lancaster, 158 P.3d 157 (Cal. 2007).

Lancaster was convicted of murder, among other offenses, and sentenced to death. 158 P.3d at 162. During the penalty phase, a psychologist testified for the defense that Lancaster has an antisocial personality that might have a genetic component. Id. at 165.

Genetics evidence was mentioned primarily in passing by a testifying psychologist.

State v. Frank, 957 So. 2d 724 (La. 2007).

Frank was convicted of murder and was sentenced to death. 957 So. 2d at 727. On appeal, the state supreme court affirmed in part and remanded in part. Id. On remand, a psychiatrist testifying for the state noted that “there is a possibility that susceptibility to PTSD may be partly genetic and that someone who has inherited a predisposition to the disorder may be vulnerable to mental illness if he or she is traumatized under the stress of environmental influences.”

Frank argued that she should be given a new sentencing phase, presumably to bring up past sexual abuse. In the context of stating that her claims of sexual abuse were dubious, an expert “conceded” that vulnerability to

appendices 469

Case

Johnson v. Quarterman, 483 F.3d 278 (5th Cir. 2007).

Summary

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Id. at 734. The district court held that Frank refused the assistance of a mental health expert and concluded that she was not entitled to a new sentencing phase of her trial. On appeal, the state supreme court affirmed, holding in part that Frank did not demonstrate prejudice because she did not have expert assistance funded by the state.

PTSD may be partially genetic and therefore, when combined with environmental stressors, may heighten the likelihood of acquiring a mental illness. Id. at 734. However, Frank was denied a new sentencing phase since she had already refused the assistance of a mental health expert, so the issue went no further. Genetics evidence, then, was mentioned only in passing.

Johnson was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. 483 F.3d at 279. The district court dismissed his subsequent petition for writ of habeas corpus and denied his application for certificate of appealability. The court held that the state court did not unreasonably deny relief on Johnson’s claim that his counsel rendered ineffective assistance, in part by failing to conduct a complete and thorough mitigation investigation. Id. In support of this claim, Johnson submitted an affidavit of a mitigation specialist who stated that she had discovered evidence concerning numerous potentially mitigating factors, including a genetic predisposition to substance abuse. Id. at 278. Johnson then requested a certificate of appealability, to appeal the district court’s denial of relief. This request, too, was denied.

The mitigation specialist seemed to refer to Johnson’s family history of substance abuse and his genetic predisposition to substance abuse as two separate but related items. Id. at 288 n.*. Also, the appellate court acknowledged the district court’s comments that childhood abuse evidence was not compelling enough to create a “reasonable

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People v. Smith, 150 P.3d 1224 (Cal. 2007).

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Because the district court was found not to have erred in its procedural ruling, the appellate court rendered it unnecessary to address the ineffective assistance claim. Id. at 279. The court did note, however, the district court’s holding that “even if considered, the mitigation specialist’s affidavit would provide no grounds for relief because, in the context of Johnson’s extensive history of extreme and brutal violence, it is highly unlikely that evidence of Johnson’s childhood abuse and privations in foster homes was so compelling that there is a reasonable probability that at least one juror could have reasonably determined that death was not an appropriate sentence.” Id. at 288 n.*.

probability that at least one juror” would have voted against a death sentence; however, the court made no mention of the alleged genetic predisposition in this context. Id. at 288. In general, genetics evidence was mentioned in passing.

Smith was charged with two counts of first degree murder, among other offenses, and entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. 150 P.3d at 1231. One of several doctors appointed to evaluate Smith testified during the sanity phase that Smith had a genetic predisposition for psychopathy and other untreatable antisocial characteristics. Id. at 1234. The jury returned a verdict that Smith was sane at the time of the offenses. He was subsequently convicted and sentenced to death. The state superior court denied Smith’s automatic application to modify the death verdict and sentenced him accordingly. On automatic appeal to the state supreme court, Smith’s conviction for receiving stolen property was reversed but the judgment was otherwise affirmed. Id. at 1257.

Genetics evidence appeared—if relevant at all—to work against the defendant. An expert who evaluated Smith during the sanity phase of his trial “opined that defendant had a genetic predisposition for psychopathy and antisocial characteristics, and that such disorders were essentially untreatable,” id. at 1234, but “found no psychiatric evidence that defendant was legally insane at the time of the offenses.” Id. At 1235.

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Mickey v. Ayers, No. C-93-0243 RMW, 2006 WL 3358410 (N.D. Cal. Nov. 17, 2006).

Mickey was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. 2006 WL 3358410, at *1. The state supreme court affirmed, and Mickey’s application for a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court was denied. Following several unsuccessful petitions, Mickey petitioned the district court for habeas corpus relief. His petition was denied on the guilt phase claims, but was granted on the penalty phase claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. The court stated that the performance of Mickey’s counsel was deficient in part because they failed to “effectively utilize the expertise of their mental health experts” in the “preparation and presentation of [Mickey’s] mitigation case. . . .” Id. at *15. Based on available information regarding Mickey’s background, a forensic psychologist would have testified at the penalty phase regarding the “strong correlation between a genetic history of addictive disorders and predisposition to developing addictions,” and stated that “Mickey’s genetic loading, combined with his family environment and underlying mental illness, caused him to be predisposed to alcohol and drug dependency.” Id. at *19.

As the court noted, “[t]he defense could have presented a mitigation case that Mickey was a psychiatrically disturbed individual who was exposed to abuse and surrounded by family members who had psychiatric problems themselves.” Id. at * 20. In essence, the difference between what the defense could have done and did do was “substantial.” Id.

State v. IdellfonsoDiaz, No. M200600203-CCAR9-CD, 2006 WL 3093207 (Tenn. Crim. App. Nov. 1, 2006) (remanding decision of trial court).

Idellfonso-Diaz was charged with murder. 2006 WL 3093207, at *1. On interlocutory appeal, the state contended that the trial court erroneously permitted expert testimony regarding Idellfonso-Diaz’s diminished mental capacity at the time of the crimes. Id. The expert witness had arranged genetic testing for Idellfonso-Diaz and testified that he “had a genetic vulnerability to becoming depressed and dysfunctional, especially in stressful, crisis-type situations.” Id. at *2. The witness also stated that “considered separately, [Idellfonso-Diaz’s] genetic

The appellate court considered expert testimony that genetic vulnerability was one factor that may have contributed to defendant’s behavior; however, the court determined that such impairment, along with the defendant’s other disorders, was

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Hamilton v. Ayers, 458 F. Supp. 2d 1075 (E.D. Cal. 2006).

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vulnerability . . . would not have been particularly serious,” but would have “‘impaired him, to some extent’” when combined with other factors such as intoxication, PTSD, and depression. Id. The state argued that because the witness’s testimony did not indicate that IdellfonsoDiaz “completely lacked the mental capacity to commit the crimes, his testimony is inadmissible. . . .” Id. at *4. The appellate court agreed and remanded the case.

not sufficiently detrimental to negate the defendant’s mental capacity to commit the crimes. The expert’s testimony was rendered inadmissible .

Hamilton was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. 458 F. Supp. 2d at 1086. His conviction and sentence were affirmed, and his petition for habeas corpus was denied. Hamilton then petitioned for federal writ of habeas corpus. Hamilton argued that he was incompetent to stand trial and that his attorneys did not investigate his mental state. Id. at 1085–86. An expert witness opined that “Hamilton’s family history of genetic disorders,” among other factors, “burdened him with extreme mental and emotional impairments . . . that compromised his ability to fully appreciate the nature and consequences of his acts or to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law.” Id. at 1091. The witness also stated “that both sides of Hamilton’s family have histories of genetically transmitted disorders which expressed themselves early in Hamilton’s life,” while another expert stressed “that Hamilton was raised in an environment of intergenerational alcoholism, child abuse and domestic violence. . . .” Id. at 1127. The court noted, however, the lack of medical records to support Hamilton’s claim of incompetence. Id. at 1091. The court also emphasized that Hamilton’s behavior did not appear to be irrational, and he had “not shown that he

Despite substantial testimony by mental health professionals concerning Hamilton’s genetically transmitted disorders and family background of violence and abuse, the court spotlighted other factors relatively more heavily— specifically, Hamilton’s lack of medical records, behavioral irrationality, or indications that he could not understand the proceedings.

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was unable to understand the nature of the proceedings against him or to assist counsel.” Id. at 1092. The court concluded that “the evidence presented . . . does not raise a ‘bona fide doubt’ as to Hamilton’s competence to stand trial” and that “defense counsel was not ineffective for failing to raise the issue of Hamilton’s competence.” Id. State v. Ketterer, 855 N.E.2d 48 (Ohio 2006), cert. denied, Ketterer v. Ohio, 127 S. Ct. 2266 (2007).

Ketterer pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to death. 855 N.E.2d at 56. His appeal was based in part on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, due to his attorneys’ failure to effectively present mitigating evidence. Id. at 66. At the penalty phase, a clinical psychologist testified that Ketterer “does have a ‘severe mental disease or defect,’” which has a “genetic component . . . in that Ketterer’s family is ‘filled with people with depression, bipolar disorder, and suicides.’” Id. at 78. The state supreme court described “evidence of Ketterer’s severe mental problems as a significant mitigating factor,” id. at 80, but “conclude[d] that the aggravating circumstances outweigh the collective mitigating factors,” id. at 81, and affirmed the trial court’s ruling, id. at 58.

The concurrence also emphasized the genetic links to defendant’s mental illness, noting that “many of Ketterer’s family members suffer from depression and bipolar disorder,” including a brother treated for “major depressive disorder” as well as bipolar disorder, a second brother who was institutionalized at a state mental hospital, a cousin treated for depression, and another cousin and uncle who both committed suicide. Id. at 83.

Morris v. State, No. W200500426-CCAR3-PD, 2006 WL 2872870 (Tenn. Crim. App. Oct. 10, 2006).

Morris was convicted of murder and rape and sentenced to death. 2006 WL 2872870, at *1. The state supreme court affirmed, and the trial court denied Morris’s petition for postconviction relief. Morris appealed, based in part on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. Specifically, Morris argued that his counsel was deficient “in failing to uncover information that would have led to a diagnosis

While acknowledging expert testimony concerning the genetic, familial, and environmental components of addiction, the court noted that some of the missing

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Loving v. United States, 64 M.J. 132 (C.A.A.F. 2006).

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of Bipolar Disorder II. . . .” Id. at *45. A neuropsychiatrist concluded that Morris suffered from “genetically transmitted” bipolar disorder. Id. at *22. This neuropsychiatrist stated that affidavits from Morris’s family “were crucial with regard to establishing a genetic/family history of mental disorders.” Id. at *47. An expert in medical addiction testified that ‘“[i]n terms of addiction medicine . . . [w]e go through the family history because we know that addiction is strongly genetic.’” Id. at *18. A mitigation specialist working for Morris testified that because certain mental illnesses are genetic, a “thorough familial investigation” was merited; however, she described “her function in the present case” as “‘not very proactive.’” Id. at *15. The appellate court affirmed the postconviction court’s judgment, however, holding in part that Morris “was not denied effective assistance of counsel at trial or on appeal.” Id. at *35.

information about the defendant viewed by the defense as potential mitigating evidence would have actually been “harmful” because “it revealed and supported [defendant’s] long-time drug use and also indicated that [defendant] relied upon the sale of illegal drugs as a source of income.” Id. at *61.

Loving was sentenced to death. His conviction was affirmed by the appellate court and the Supreme Court. Loving subsequently filed a habeas petition. 64 M.J. at 134–35. In partial support for his claim that his trial counsel did not effectively investigate and present mitigation evidence, Loving presented information related to his “parental and family history of alcoholism and substance addiction,” which could have “established [Loving’s] genetic proclivity for alcoholism.” Id. at 151. Noting that Loving “has presented a potentially meritorious claim of ineffective assistance of counsel arising from his trial defense counsel’s failure to . . . [expand] the mitigation investigation into the defendant’s traumatic life history,” id. at 151–52, the appellate court held it did “not

In remanding for an evidentiary hearing, the court noted that defendant’s “traumatic family background and upbringing” warranted examination of extenuating or mitigating factors. Id. at 152. In general, however, genetics evidence was mentioned in passing.

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have the factual predicate to determine if [its] prior decision addressing the issue of ineffective assistance of counsel was correct . . . .” Id. 134. The appellate court thus remanded for an “evidentiary hearing to address the issue of whether [Loving’s] trial defense counsel ‘chose to abandon their investigation at an unreasonable juncture, making a fully informed decision with respect to sentencing strategy impossible’ thereby prejudicing [Loving] in the capital sentencing phase of the court-martial.” Id. Jones v. Schriro, 450 F. Supp. 2d 1023 (D. Ariz. 2006).

Jones was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. 450 F. Supp. 2d at 1025. The state supreme court affirmed the convictions and sentences on direct appeal. Jones then filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, claiming “ineffective assistance of trial counsel based on counsel’s failure to investigate and present mitigating evidence.” Id. Testifying on behalf of Jones at the sentencing hearing, a mental health expert stated that Jones’s substance abuse was the result of “genetic predisposition and self-medication.” Id. at 1031. Another mental health expert identified mitigating factors that included a “genetic loading for substance abuse and affective disorders.” Id. at 1027. The trial court found, however, that the mitigating circumstances did not outweigh the aggravating circumstances or merit leniency. Id. at 1029. The district court denied habeas relief, holding in part that trial counsel’s failure to seek neuropsychological testing did not prejudice petitioner and thus could not amount to ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. at 1046.

Despite testimony from three expert witnesses concerning defendant’s history of abuse and genetic predisposition, the district court was concerned about the lateness with which some of defendant’s claims were revealed. As the district court explained, “the sentencing judge would likely have viewed with skepticism [defendant’s] more-recent allegations of sexual and physical abuse, given their late disclosure, their inconsistency with other information in the record, and [defendant’s] ‘obvious motive to fabricate.’” Id. at 1047 (citation omitted).

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State v. Sexton, 904 A.2d 1092 (Vt. 2006) (affirming in part, reversing in part, and remanding).

Sexton was charged with second-degree murder. 904 A.2d at 1095. A court-appointed psychiatrist concluded that Sexton was insane at the time of his offense, with his psychosis possibly occurring as a result of illegal drugs (e.g., LSD) that “exacerbated or activated a preexisting latent illness.” Id. at 1106. This rare reaction, the psychiatrist noted, is more likely to occur among individuals with a genetic predisposition. Id. at 1105 n.13. Another psychiatrist cited research indicating greater susceptibility to a psychotic response to LSD use among individuals with a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia, and stated that Sexton’s “‘mental health history clearly puts him in this category.’” Id. The district court held that Sexton “was entitled to rely on the defense of diminished capacity due to voluntary intoxication” and, in a second decision, “conclude[ed] that [Sexton] was also entitled to argue that he was legally insane at the time of the killing.” Id. at 1096. On appeal by the state, the state supreme court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded, holding in part that Sexton could not assert an insanity defense “based on the voluntary consumption of illegal drugs that activate a latent mental disease or defect. . . .” Id. at 1111.

As the state supreme court explained, even if the defendant possessed “a latent mental illness, it does not alter the fact that . . . defendant would not have been in a psychotic state at the time of the offense had he not chosen to use illegal consciousnessaltering drugs.” Id. at 1106. In essence, the defendant’s evidence “demonstrates that his recent, voluntary use of illegal drugs was an essential causal element of the mental illness and psychotic episode that followed.” Id.

Keen v. State, No. W200402159-CCAR3-PD, 2006 WL 1540258 (Tenn. Crim. App. June 5, 2006), cert. denied, Keen v. Tennessee, 127 S. Ct. 2250 (2007).

Keen was convicted of first-degree felony murder and sentenced to death. 2006 WL 1540258, at *1. On direct appeal, his conviction was affirmed, but the state supreme court reversed and remanded. On remand, the jury again imposed the penalty of death and the state supreme court affirmed. Keen’s petition for postconviction relief was denied, and Keen appealed, claiming in part ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. The attorney who represented Keen in his earlier trials testified that she did not offer any evidence regarding a genetic predisposition

The psychologist’s expert testimony emphasized a link between defendant’s family history and his criminal behavior, which involved the rape and murder of a young child, noting for example that “[t]he family’s sexual dysfunction transcends

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People v. Mertz, 842 N.E.2d 618 (Ill. 2005), cert. denied, Mertz v. Illinois, 127 S. Ct. 47 (2006).

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to mental illness. Id. at *9. A psychologist for the defense testified that within Keen’s family, “‘there is a significant genetic heritability or genetic predisposition to mental illness.’” Id. at *24. He stated that Keen’s siblings’ backgrounds were also important, since “the children share genetic parenting or partial genetic parenting,” as well as “the same climate of abuse and neglect.” Id. He also noted “the importance of multi-generational family history in capital sentencing evaluations,” as “one may be genetically predisposed to many characteristics, such as personality disorders, psychological disorders and substance abuse.” Id. at *23. Based on the psychologist’s overview of Keen’s family history, he concluded that “in the context of a capital murder, one may say that [Keen’s] behavior is at the end of a generational pyramid that involves genetic influences . . . from generation to generation” and noted that this mitigation evidence was available during Keen’s earlier trials. Id. However, the appellate court affirmed the judgment of the postconviction court, concluding that “[t]here is no reason to lack confidence as to the outcome in this case because the aggravating circumstances submitted to the jury outweighed the mitigating circumstances.” Id. at *46.

generations and impacts both genders,” and more specifically, the “‘generational sexual deviation and abuse directed toward children.’” Id. at *23. Likewise, in defendant’s family, “there is an increased incidence of persons who abandon their children, of persons who sexually molest children, and persons who have significant alcohol and drug histories . . . .” Id. at *24. While Keen voluntary chose to commit the crime, “he did not have the same choice as everyone else due to his background and history” as well as “risk factors” that propelled his behavior. Id.

Mertz was convicted of first-degree murder, among other crimes, and sentenced to death. 842 N.E.2d at 622. On appeal to the state supreme court, he argued in part that imposition of the death penalty was excessive in light of his inherited alcoholism (as well as other factors, such as military service). Id. An expert witness specializing in substance abuse evaluations testified that Mertz

The court specifically addressed Mertz’s claim of “‘inherited’ alcoholism,” calling it “highly questionable” and doubting its credibility, as well as the extent of the evidence of drinking

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Marquard v. Sec’y for Dep’t of Corrections, 429 F.3d 1278 (11th Cir. 2005), cert. denied, Marquard v. McDonough,

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“satisfied the criteria for alcohol dependence” and that this dependence was “genetically influenced.” Id. at 641. Additionally, a psychologist testified for the defense “that defendant had a genetic predisposition to alcohol dependence and mood disorder.” Id. at 644. In evaluating Mertz’s excessive sentence argument, the court made strong comments about the testimony on Mertz’s alcoholism: “[D]efendant’s claim of ‘inherited’ alcoholism is highly questionable in terms of credibility and, in our opinion, did little to help defendant at sentencing. Apparently, defendant believed he would be less blameworthy in the eyes of the jurors for his failure to seek help with his drinking problems, and his failure to earnestly try to overcome them, if he attributed the problems to genetics and family models. We believe defendant was mistaken in this respect. Moreover, the case defendant made for ‘inheriting’ alcoholism is not convincing.” Id. at 662.

among his family members. Id. at 662. The court also made clear its skepticism about Mertz’s links between his alcoholism and his behavior. “We believe the effort to blame defendant’s drinking problems upon an alleged genetic or family predisposition was little more than a thinly veiled effort to divert responsibility from defendant for his failure to address his problems and take responsibility for them. To the extent that credible evidence was adduced on this subject, and that evidence might be considered mitigating, we find the weight of that evidence was insignificant.” Id. at 663.

Marquard was convicted of first-degree murder and armed robbery and sentenced to death. 429 F.3d at 1282. The district court denied his petition for habeas corpus relief. On appeal, Marquard claimed ineffective assistance of counsel during the penalty phase of his trial. Id. at 1294. During the penalty phase, a psychologist testified that individual personality traits stem in part from

The role of genetics evidence as related to Marquard is more implied than directly stated. The expert witness testified that Marquard presented “‘personality problems,’” and then

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126 S. Ct. 2356 “genetic predisposition.” Individuals who (2006). develop “maladaptive personality traits” are considered to have a “personality disorder,” which varies in type depending on the individual. Id. at 1288. The psychologist stated that Marquard “had traits typical of many different personality disorders.” Id. The court of appeals affirmed, holding in part that the state court’s decision that counsel did not meet the standard for ineffective assistance because it did not present some of the mitigation evidence was not “‘contrary to’ clearly established federal law.” Id. at 1306.

Comments explained that individual personality traits are “traceable to genetic predisposition and also the individual’s environment and upbringing and values in the home.” Id. at 1288. Genetics evidence, then, was mentioned only in passing.

State v. Manning, 885 So. 2d 1044 (La. 2004).

Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. 885 So. 2d at 1057. At the sentencing phase, a forensic psychiatrist offered mitigation expert testimony, stating that during a psychiatric evaluation, defendant “minimized his alcohol problems, which may have stemmed from a genetic predisposition.” Id. at 1096–97. Defendant appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court on claims unrelated to the genetics evidence. His conviction was affirmed. Id.

Genetic predisposition was mentioned only in passing.

Von Dohlen v. State, 602 S.E.2d 738 (S.C. 2004).

Defendant was convicted of murder and armed robbery and sentenced to death. 602 S.E.2d at 740. His convictions and sentence were affirmed on direct appeal, and he applied for postconviction relief, arguing that during the sentencing phase, a psychiatrist for the defense had understated defendant’s mental illness. Id. at 741. At the postconviction relief hearing, the psychiatrist testified that had he seen certain medical and psychiatric records (which had been available before the trial), he would have diagnosed the defendant with a more serious

Genetic predisposition was not a pivotal issue but may have formed some of the basis for remand.

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mental illness. This diagnosis would have been based in part on records indicating a possible genetic basis for the defendant’s chronic depression, as well as on an overall genetic predisposition for mental disorders. Id. at 741–42. The hearing judge denied relief, but on appeal the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed and remanded for a new sentencing hearing, holding that defense counsel’s lack of preparation prevented a defense expert witness from accurately depicting defendant’s mental condition at the time of the crime. Id. at 746. Dennis ex rel. Butko v. Budge, 378 F.3d 880 (9th Cir. 2004).

Defendant pled guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. 378 F.3d 882. The Nevada Supreme Court affirmed. Defendant filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus, which was dismissed by the state district court. Defendant appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, but then requested that his appeal be withdrawn. His counsel refused defendant’s request, questioning defendant’s competence. Id. at 883. The Nevada Supreme Court remanded the case to state district court for a competency hearing. Defendant was found competent, and his counsel was directed to withdraw the appeal. Id. at 886. Instead, defendant’s counsel removed herself from the case and filed a “next-friend” petition for habeas corpus in the federal district court. The petition was dismissed for lack of standing because the defendant was deemed competent. Id. at 887–88. Defendant’s former counsel appealed. Id. at 888. The court of appeals affirmed the dismissal of the petition and denied the request for a stay of execution. Id. at 895.

The case itself did not involve genetics evidence, but the concurring opinion mentions genetic predispositions in the context of differentiating such predispositions from mental illness (asking how mental illness can be distinguished from genetic predisposition).

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The concurring opinion commented on the difficulty of distinguishing a mental illness from “the myriad . . . memories, experiences and genetic predispositions that go to make up each individual’s unique personality . . . .” Id. The concurrence also noted that “[w]e as judges and lawyers attempt to capture these philosophical dilemmas in words that can have very different meanings to different people, and that often may not respect the concepts that mental health professionals would use to capture cognitive and volitional capacity.” Id. Hall v. State, 160 S.W.3d 24 (Tex. Crim. App. 2004) (en banc).

Defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. 160 S.W.3d at 26. On appeal, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and sentence. Defendant then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and filed a state application for writ of habeas corpus. The Supreme Court vacated the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’s decision and remanded the case for reconsideration in light of Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304 (2002). Hall, 160 S.W. 3d at 27. In defendant’s habeas action, the trial court determined that the matter of defendant’s mental retardation was an issue of fact that had not been resolved, and it ordered a hearing by way of affidavits. Id. at 26–27. The defendant submitted affidavits from two psychologists stating that he was mentally retarded. Id. at 32. One affidavit described defendant’s appearance as typical of fetal alcohol syndrome and stated that the defendant also exhibited characteristics resembling other genetic disorders (e.g., XXY), which had existed at birth. Id. at 33. The State submitted a rebuttal affidavit from a neuropsychologist who had testified during

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals noted that testimony was presented both by and against the defendant regarding the similarity, or lack thereof, of defendant’s mental condition to several genetic disorders. Id. at 39–40. The court weighed this testimony collectively with other evidence in finding against the defendant.

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the guilt phase of the trial. Id. at 35. This witness explicitly stated that the defendant did not exhibit symptoms of such genetic disorders. Id. The habeas trial court concluded that the defendant was not mentally retarded, and therefore denied relief. The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals determined that the trial court was in the best position to evaluate conflicting evidence regarding the defendant’s mental state, and thus affirmed the trial court’s decision. Id. at 40. Cauthern v. State, 145 S.W.3d 571 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2004).

Defendant was convicted of felony murder and sentenced to death. 145 S.W.3d at 578. On direct appeal, the Tennessee Supreme Court remanded for resentencing, and defendant was again sentenced to death. The sentence was affirmed on appeal, and defendant’s subsequent petition for postconviction relief was denied. Id. at 579. Defendant appealed the denial of his petition based in apart on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel at both preceding sentencing hearings: his psychiatric expert witness at the postconviction hearing testified that mitigation evidence could have been presented of defendant’s family history suggesting a genetic predisposition to impulsive behavior. Id. at 588. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the denial of postconviction relief, holding any shortcomings by counsel would have made no difference to the outcome. Id. at 578.

In rejecting defendant’s claim that he was prejudiced by the failure to present mitigating evidence about his background at the capital resentencing trial, the court noted that defendant’s stepsiblings experienced abusive upbringings but did not appear to suffer from violent inclinations. Id. at 609.

Davis v. State, No. M200300744-CCAR3-PC, 2004 WL 253396

The only contested issue at the guilt phase of defendant’s trial for murder, reckless endangerment, and carrying a weapon on school property, was his mental state at the time of the crimes. 2004 WL 253396, at *4. A psychiatrist testified for the defense that

Defendant’s appeal was unrelated to his alleged genetic predisposition. Genetic predisposition was

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(Tenn. Crim. App. Feb. 11, 2004).

defendant had a genetic predisposition for mental illness because numerous family members had been hospitalized for mental illness. Id. Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. Id. at *1. His petition for postconviction relief was dismissed and its dismissal affirmed on appeal to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. Id. at *11.

mentioned only in passing.

State v. Scott, 800 N.E.2d 1133 (Ohio 2004).

Scott was convicted of murder, among other offenses, and sentenced to death. 800 N.E.2d at 1139–40. On appeal, the state supreme court affirmed the lower court’s judgment, holding in part that the aggravating circumstances outweighed the mitigating factors. Id. at 1151. Included in Scott’s mitigation evidence was testimony from a social worker/mitigation specialist, stating in part that Scott was genetically predisposed for chemical dependencies. Id. at 1148.

Genetic predisposition was mentioned only in passing.

Fudge v. State, 120 S.W.3d 600 (Ark. 2003).

Defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. 120 S.W.3d at 601. The Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed. Defendant appealed a denial of his petition for postconviction relief to the Arkansas Supreme Court, which concluded that the trial court’s order denying defendant’s petition had not met statutory requirements for written findings regarding defendant’s allegation of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. at 604. The attorneys had failed, among other things, to investigate and present mitigating evidence during the penalty phase, including defendant’s propensity for violence towards women, which “either resulted from a genetic condition or is behavior that was learned from his male role models.” Id. at 602–03. The Arkansas Supreme Court

The alleged genetic condition was listed as a potentially mitigating factor that required consideration by the trial court.

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reversed the trial court’s decision and remanded the case for specific findings and conclusions of law. Id. at 603. People v. Allaway, No. G030307, 2003 WL 22147632 (Cal. App. 4 Dist. Sept. 18, 2003).

Allaway was charged with murder, among other offenses, and found not guilty by reason of insanity. 2003 WL 22147632, at *1. His application to be transferred from a state mental hospital to an outpatient treatment facility was denied, and he appealed, claiming that the trial court’s decision was not supported by substantial evidence. Id. An independent evaluator testified that Allaway is genetically predisposed to mental illness and psychotic behavior, and the court noted that Allaway “seemed to admit as much in his testimony.” Id. at *3. The appellate court affirmed the trial court’s judgment, finding no abuse of discretion. Id. at *6.

Here, genetics evidence worked against Allaway for purposes of evaluating future dangerousness. His application for transfer was denied in part based on the testimony of an independent evaluator who stated that Allaway had a “genetic predisposition” to mental illness and psychotic behavior. Id. at *3. The court seemed to accept the genetics link, albeit in a way that worked against Allaway’s application.

State v. Hughbanks, 792 N.E.2d 1081 (Ohio 2003).

Hughbanks was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. 792 N.E.2d at 1089. The appellate court appeared to include “genetic tendency” among the defendant’s relevant background factors: defendant’s father was diagnosed with schizophrenia and there can be “sometimes a familial augmentation” because “schizophrenia ‘runs in families.’” Id. at 1101. The court acknowledged that “many” of defendant’s family members suffered from mental illness and noted the likely negative effect on defendant’s “growth and development.” Id. at 1103. Yet the court found

The alleged genetic condition was listed as a potentially mitigating factor. Id. at 1103.

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that the aggravating circumstances of the crime outweighed such mitigating factors. Id. at 1104. Head v. Thomason, 578 S.E.2d 426 (Ga. 2003).

Thomason was convicted of murder, among other crimes, and sentenced to death. 578 S.E.2d at 428. Conviction and sentence were affirmed, and Thomason filed for writ of habeas corpus, which was denied on all grounds except one: that Thomason received ineffective assistance of counsel during the sentencing phase, in part due to his counsel’s failure to offer available mitigation evidence. Id. This evidence included the opinion of a social worker who stated “that Thomason’s family had a strong genetic disposition to alcohol and drug abuse.” Id. at 429 n.1. The habeas court ordered a new sentencing trial, and the warden appealed. Thomason cross-appealed the habeas court’s rejection of his other claims. Id. at 428. On appeal, the state supreme court affirmed the grant of a new sentencing trial, holding in part that defense counsel was ineffective due to failure to offer available mitigating evidence. Id. at 430.

The court stressed “the importance of mitigating evidence in death penalty cases, [explaining] that an attorney has not acted reasonably when he fails to call mental health experts he knows have mitigating evidence and explains his failure to present lay mitigating evidence by asserting that he had no experts to call.” Id. at 430.

State v. Madey, No. 81166, 2002-Ohio5976, 2002 WL 31429827 (Ohio App. 8 Dist. Oct. 31, 2002) (vacating and remanding sentencing decision of trial court).

Madey was convicted of misdemeanor assault and appealed. 2002 WL 31429827, at *1. The appellate court found that the trial court abused its discretion in imposing probation conditions related to Madey’s drinking, and therefore vacated the sentence and remanded the case. Id. The trial court asked Madey’s mother whether “she knew ‘anything about genetic predisposition to alcoholism?’” and whether she “had a concern that her daughter would become ‘a flaming alcoholic’ because, with such an ethnic background, ‘there [was] nothing she can do about it.’” Id. The trial court also required Madey to “both immediately cease her only employment and

The trial court’s comments are uniquely disturbing in many ways, particularly in terms of how the court stereotypes the relationship between ethnic or national background and alcoholism. For example, the court asked defendant’s mother “if she had ‘ever been on

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State v. Arausa, No. 2002439113 (Dist. Ct. Lubbock County July 5, 2002), aff’d, Arausa v. State,

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also submit an essay ‘on alcoholism and the American Indians,’” id. at *4, which it justified “in part because the issue of a ‘genetic predisposition toward alcoholism’ had been raised in the defense expert’s report and Madey therefore was being ‘hypocritical’ in challenging the terms imposed.” Id. at *4 n.4. The appellate court found that the trial court’s conditions “bear no relation to an interest in doing justice as well as in rehabilitation.” Id. at *4. In vacating defendant’s sentence and remanding, the appellate court also noted that defendant did not “[attempt] to use her family background to excuse her behavior.” Id.

an Indian reservation?’ and if she had ever seen ‘the Scotch or Irish drinking?’” Id. at *1. In turn, the court continuously projected defendant’s danger without any evidence, even characterizing her potential state of being a murder victim as a danger to others: “[I]f you start drinking like this, you’re a danger. You will go out and get yourself attacked, or murdered, or something, and put yourself in these hopeless conditions, which is a bad example, and every time somebody is killed or raped in society, that diminishes the public safety overall.” Id. at *2.

Defendant was convicted of first-degree, aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to life imprisonment. 2003 WL 21803322, at *1. Defendant claimed on appeal that although a psychologist appointed by the trial court had found him legally sane and competent to stand trial, the trial court had erred in refusing his request for an appointment with a psychiatrist, instead, to assist him in the

The court responded specifically to the defendant’s claim of genetics evidence, but not on a substantive level.

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No. 07-020396-CR, 2003 WL 21803322 (Tex. Ct. App. Aug. 6, 2003).

development of mitigation evidence. Id. at *2. Defendant argued in part that a psychiatrist had been required to discuss a study indicating a genetic predisposition among victims of abuse to become abusers themselves. Id. at *4. The court of appeals responded that the appellant had not based his original request for a psychiatrist on the need to discuss the gene study. On a more general level, the court saw no relevance of the request for the psychiatrist to the defense. It affirmed, concluding defendant was not entitled to a new trial.

Stevens v. State, 770 N.E.2d 739 (Ind. 2002).

Defendant was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. 770 N.E.2d at 745. His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal to the Supreme Court of Indiana. Defendant’s petition for postconviction relief was denied and its denial affirmed by the Indiana Supreme Court. The petition was based in large part on various claims of ineffective assistance of counsel. Id. at 746. The supreme court rejected these claims, emphasizing that defense counsel’s strategy had been sound. Id. at 752. Defendant’s proposed alternative strategy, the court pointed out, would have conflicted with the defense’s theory that he was a “passive victim of abuse.” Id. at 754. This theory was supported by the testimony of a psychologist for the defense that the defendant’s genetic predisposition was partly to blame for his behavior.

Genetic predisposition was mentioned only in passing, in the context of pointing out why the alternative defense strategy now proposed by the defendant would not have worked (indicating the alternative strategy would have conflicted with the existing defense theory).

Landrigan v. Stewart, 272 F.3d 1221, (9th Cir. 2001), aff’d in part and rev’d in part en banc, Landrigan v.

Defendant was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His conviction was affirmed on direct appeal by the Arizona Supreme Court. 272 F.3d at 1223. His petition for postconviction relief was denied, as was his petition for habeas corpus. On appeal of these, defendant claimed ineffective assistance of counsel based on counsel’s

Citing Mobley v. Head, 267 F.3d 1312 (11th Cir. 2001), and Turpin v. Mobley, 502 S.E.2d 458 (Ga. 1998), the Ninth Circuit characterized the “genetic violence”

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Schriro, 441 F.3d 638 (9th Cir. 2006), rev’d, Schriro v. Landrigan, 127 S. Ct. 1933 (2007).

failure to present mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase of his trial. Id. at 1224. The Ninth Circuit noted that defense counsel had attempted to present evidence regarding defendant’s drug and alcohol addictions during the guilt phase, but that defendant thwarted all such efforts. Id. at 1225. Further, any inadequacies in defense counsel’s investigation prior to the sentencing phase resulted from defendant’s lack of cooperation. Id. at 1230–31. The court was thus skeptical of defendant’s insistence “that he would have allowed the presentation of genetic predisposition evidence.” Id. at 1231. The court concluded that “it is not reasonably probable that the outcome would have been affected,” had evidence of the alleged genetic predisposition to violence been introduced. Id. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, on rehearing en banc, remanded for an evidentiary review, stating that “a defendant can be prejudiced by an attorney’s failure to investigate and present mitigating evidence that could influence the judge’s appraisal of moral culpability.” 441 F. 3d at 649-50. On May 14, 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Ninth Circuit, stating that “Landrigan’s mitigation evidence was weak, and the postconviction court was well acquainted with Landrigan’s exceedingly violent past and had seen first hand his belligerent behavior.” 127 S.Ct. at 1944. Further, “the mitigating evidence [Landrigan] seeks to introduce would not have changed the result.” Id.

theory as “rather exotic at the time, and still is.” Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1228. The theory “suggests that [defendant’s] biological background made him what he is.” Id. Likewise, the court stated, “It is highly doubtful that the sentencing court would have been moved by information that [defendant] was a remorseless, violent killer because he was genetically programmed to be violent, as shown by the fact that he comes from a family of violent people, who are killers also.” Id. at 1228–29. The court also cited People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995), in commenting that although [defendant’s] new evidence can be called mitigating in some slight sense, it would also have shown the court that it could anticipate that he would continue to be violent.” Landrigan, 272 F.3d at 1229.

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Rogers v. State, 783 So. 2d 980 (Fla. 2001).

Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. 783 So. 2d at 985. On direct appeal, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed, holding in part that the trial court had given proper weight to such mitigating evidence as penalty-phase testimony from a defense mental health expert witness that the defendant suffered from a rare genetic mental disease called porphyria. Id. at 997.

Genetics evidence was mentioned only in passing.

West v. Bell, 242 F.3d 338 (6th Cir. 2001).

West was sentenced to death for rape and Genetics evidence murder. 242 F.3d at 339. His attorneys at his was mentioned only state postconviction proceedings filed a in passing. motion for appointment of counsel and stay of execution to determine whether West “knowingly, voluntarily, and competently waived his right to seek federal habeas.” Id. The district court entered a stay of execution and scheduled a competency hearing; however, the appellate court vacated the stay of execution, holding in part that West’s former counsel was not able to sue for federal habeas relief as West’s “next friend.” Id. at 341–43. The dissent argued in favor of affirming the district court’s stay of execution, finding that West’s defense counsel could assert rights for West as a next friend in part because there was “reasonable cause to believe that West is incompetent to make a decision to forego filing a federal habeas corpus petition.” Id. at 344. This reasonable cause stemmed in part from defense counsel’s provision of an affidavit from a psychiatrist who indicated that West may be genetically predisposed to mental illness. Id.

State v. Maraschiello, 88 S.W.3d 586 (Tenn. Crim. App. 2000).

Defendant was convicted of charges including first-degree murder and arson and sentenced to life in prison. 88 S.W.3d at 590. On appeal, defendant claimed in part that the trial court had wrongfully excluded testimony that he suffered from “Gulf War Syndrome.” Id.

Genetic predisposition was mentioned in the context of recounting testimony from the trial. Id. at 599.

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At defendant’s trial, a psychiatrist had testified for the defense that due to mental illness in defendant’s family, defendant was probably afflicted with a genetic predisposition for a delusional disorder, which was exacerbated by his stressful experiences in the military during the Persian Gulf War. Id. at 599. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed the trial court’s decision to exclude subsequent testimony regarding “Gulf War Syndrome.” Id. at 609.

The alleged predisposition was given only passing mention.

Sanchez v. Ryan, 734 N.E.2d 920 (Ill. App. Ct. 2000).

The Secretary of State denied defendant’s petition to have his driving privileges reinstated. 734 N.E.2d at 921. Defendant’s appeal was based in part on the rejection of expert testimony regarding defendant’s alleged “inherited alcohol tolerance.” Id. at 925. Defendant had claimed that he inherited a high tolerance for alcohol from his uncle and grandfather. Id. at 922. A state circuit court affirmed, as did the Illinois Appellate Court, id., the latter ruling that this testimony had been properly rejected, id. at 924.

In upholding the trial court’s and hearing officer’s rejection of the expert testimony, the court noted that “[t]he record shows that the hearing officer accepted the possibility that a person’s tolerance to alcohol could be inherited. The hearing officer simply refused to believe that the [defendant] here had an inherited high tolerance.” Id. at 925.

State v. DeAngelo, No. CR 97010866S, 2000 WL 973104 (Conn. Super. June 20, 2000).

Defendant was acquitted of robbery, larceny, and attempted assault charges after the court found him unable to control or recognize the wrongfulness of his behavior due to a combined ingestion of alcohol and legally prescribed drugs. 2000 WL 973104, at *1. The court ordered an examination to determine defendant’s mental condition. At a subsequent hearing to investigate whether defendant posed a risk of future violent or criminal behavior, id. at *2, psychiatrists agreed that defendant suffered from

An alleged genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder played a role in one psychiatrist’s recommendation that the defendant required supervision. Id. at *6. Genetics evidence was mentioned in passing.

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obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but varied in their treatment recommendations and assessment of future risk, id. at *3. One psychiatrist testified that defendant “need[ed] supervision; especially if he has a genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder.” Id. at *6. He concluded that “if the [defendant] suffer[ed] another manic episode, he could be dangerous to himself and dangerous to others.” Id. The court determined that, overall, the evaluation team had found that defendant’s release would put the public in danger and ordered that he be committed to a maximum security psychiatric unit for a maximum of ten years, since he “presently constitutes a danger to himself and others.” Id. State v. Ferguson, 20 S.W.3d 485 (Mo. 2000).

Defendant was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. 20 S.W.3d at 485. Following appeal and retrial, the defendant was again convicted and sentenced to death. Defendant’s postconviction motion was denied. Defendant’s appeal was based in part on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, id. at 505, because his counsel had failed to investigate and present evidence in the penalty phase including proof of defendant’s genetic predisposition to a major depressive disorder, id. at 509. The Missouri Supreme Court affirmed, concluding that even without the submission of this evidence, there was “ample [other] evidence in support of mitigation, and counsel’s failure to present additional evidence that would have been cumulative does not amount to ineffective assistance of counsel.” Id.

Genetic predisposition was mentioned only in passing.

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Benefiel v. State, 716 N.E.2d 906 (Ind. 1999).

Defendant was convicted of rape and murder and sentenced to death. 716 N.E.2d at 910. The Indiana Supreme Court affirmed the sentences and conviction on direct appeal. Defendant’s petition for postconviction relief based largely on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel was denied. Id. at 911–12. On appeal, defendant argued in part that his counsel had failed to present mitigating evidence during the penalty phase. Id. at 912. These mitigating factors included a genetic predisposition to “‘schizotypal personality disorder.’” Id. at 913. Expert witnesses had testified to this disorder during the guilt phase; therefore, the court reasoned that “[b]ecause the guilt phase evidence was incorporated into the penalty phase, this evidence was available for the jury to consider when it determined its recommended punishment.” Id. Finding no reasonable probability that the failure to reintroduce the testimony had affected the death sentence imposed by the jury, the Indiana Supreme Court determined that defendant suffered no prejudice, and affirmed. Id. at 919.

The appeal focused on the phase at which the mitigating evidence, including a genetic predisposition to a personality disorder, was offered. The court concluded that offering this evidence during the guilt phase was sufficient to ensure that the jury could consider it in determining an appropriate sentence.

State v. Timmendequas, 737 A.2d 55 (N.J. 1999).

Defendant was charged with murder, two counts of felony murder, first-degree kidnapping, and four counts of first-degree assault. 737 A.2d at 64. He was convicted and sentenced to death on the murder charge and received two life imprisonment sentences on the other charges. Id. at 65–66. At the sentencing hearing a psychologist called by the defense testified that defendant’s “[l]ow IQ and genetic defects may [have] . . . play[ed] a role.” Id. at 71. The New Jersey Supreme Court affirmed defendant’s conviction and sentence. Id. at 172.

The appeal was not based on alleged genetic predisposition. Id. at 55. Genetics evidence was mentioned only in passing.

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State v. Spivey, Defendant was convicted of charges including 692 N.E.2d 151 aggravated murder and was sentenced to (Ohio 1998). death. 692 N.E.2d at 155. Evidence presented by defendant during the penalty phase included testimony from a developmental pediatrics specialist who had earlier diagnosed the defendant with XYY syndrome, a chromosome abnormality resulting in an increased risk of mental disease and behavioral problems. Id. at 165. The specialist testified “that [defendant’s] chromosome abnormality placed him at risk for committing criminal acts, but that the syndrome itself did not cause him to be aggressive or to commit violent acts.” Id. Although the Ohio Supreme Court affirmed defendant’s conviction and sentence, the court noted that the defendant’s “various psychological problems” merited some mitigation. Id. at 170.

The specialist elaborated that “family environment plays a vital role in whether a person with XYY syndrome is likely to engage in criminal behavior.” Id. at 165. Thus, “in this regard . . . [defendant] ‘did not have a fair shake either from mother nature or from the environment.’” Id. The witness further explained that “‘[t]he combination of the two factors, his genetics, the family, and failure of the environment to fulfill his needs leads to his criminal behavior and violent behavior.’” Id.

Defendant was convicted of charges including felony murder and was sentenced to death. 700 N.E.2d at 963. At the sentencing hearing, the trial court had restricted the testimony of a social worker who spoke to the defendant’s genetic predisposition to alcoholism because the witness lacked the expertise required to offer an opinion on genetics. Id. at 970. The Illinois Supreme Court held that the trial court had properly excluded this and other testimony, id. at 970–71, and affirmed the lower court’s decision in all respects, id. at 963.

The court did not comment on the general admissibility of genetics evidence. This outcome suggests that the evidence might have been admissible if the testifying witness had possessed the necessary expertise.

People v. Armstrong, 700 N.E.2d 960 (Ill. 1998).

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Alley v. State, 958 S.W.2d 138 (Tenn. Crim. App. 1997).

Defendant was convicted of charges including murder and sentenced to death. 958 S.W.2d at 140. The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed each conviction on direct appeal. Id. After he was denied by the trial court, defendant appealed as a matter of right to the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals. The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals reversed denial of defendant’s petition for postconviction relief and remanded the case to the trial court for an evidentiary hearing with a new judge. Id. at 147. At the hearing, members of a medical team that had evaluated defendant before trial testified that they had not consulted a geneticist regarding various physical problems that afflicted the defendant. Id. at 141. A mental health program specialist explained that these problems appeared to be unrelated to defendant’s defense of multiple personality disorder and thus did not merit further investigation. Defendant was classified as a malingerer. A psychiatrist testified that while “a cluster of physical anomalies can point to a syndrome with a genetic origin,” the team did not see fit to “consult a geneticist in this case.” Id. at 143. A psychologist who had examined defendant testified that “genetic defects would possibly affect behavior,” but noted that “at the time of the evaluation . . . the team deemed as unnecessary any investigation of genetic problems.” Id. On appeal, defendant claimed that he had been denied effective assistance of counsel with respect to proving his mental condition. Defendant argued, in part, that “his counsel was ineffective by failing to introduce any significant mitigating evidence during the sentencing phase of the trial.” Id. at 150.

The appeal implies that defendant’s genetic condition may have influenced defendant’s behavior. Expert witnesses acknowledged that genetic factors may negatively affect behavior but claimed that this was not true in the present case.

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State v. Hartman, 476 S.E.2d 328 (N.C. 1996).

Defendant was convicted of charges including first-degree murder and was sentenced to death. 476 S.E.2d at 331. On appeal, defendant argued that the trial court had committed reversible error by refusing his request to submit specific nonstatutory mitigating circumstances (presumably during the sentencing phase), instead combining them to simplify the presentation to the jury. Id. at 339–42. Defendant argued in addition that the trial court’s instructions had prevented the jury from evaluating relevant mitigating evidence, such as his family history of alcoholism, instead submitting the following instruction: “Consider whether the defendant is an alcoholic.” Id. Presented this way, this statement did not allow the jury to determine whether the defendant had a “genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse,” and the jury “was more than likely” to view the defendant’s alcoholism “simply as weakness or unmitigated choice.” Id. The North Carolina Supreme Court held that the jury was able to consider any mitigating evidence due to a “catchall mitigating circumstance” that had been submitted, id., and affirmed, id. at 349.

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that even if the trial court erred by not submitting evidence of defendant’s “‘genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse’” as a mitigating factor, the “error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.” Id. at 342.

People v. Hammerli, 662 N.E.2d 452 (Ill. App. Ct. 1996).

Defendant was charged with first-degree murder, found guilty but mentally ill, and sentenced to 35 years in jail. 662 N.E.2d at 452. At the trial, a forensic psychiatrist testified for the defense that defendant was afflicted with a “genetic predisposition to severe mood disorder.” Id. at 456. On appeal, defendant claimed the trial court had incorrectly rejected his insanity plea. Id. at 458. The appellate court affirmed, noting that the circuit court “did not specifically embrace or reject any of the expert testimony,” but “clearly found defendant mentally ill, but able to conform his conduct to the requirements

The Appellate Court appeared dubious of the defense expert witnesses’ testimony, noting, for example, that although the defendant’s treating psychiatrist had diagnosed him with improving depression, all four experts “found defendant to be legally insane at the

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People v. Franklin, 656 N.E.2d 750 (Ill. 1995).

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of the law at the time of the crime.” Id. Because “[t]his determination was not against the manifest weight of the evidence,” the court concluded “that defendant failed to sustain his burden of proving he was insane by a preponderance of the evidence.” Id. at 458–59.

time of the murder and were able with hindsight to fit defendant’s actions into their various diagnoses.” Id. at 458. “Each [expert] found in defendant’s behavior facts to support his own opinion.” Id.

Once defendant’s murder conviction and death sentence were affirmed by the Illinois Supreme Court, he sought postconviction relief, alleging, inter alia, ineffective assistance of counsel. 656 N.E.2d at 760–61. The Circuit Court of Cook County’s denial of relief was appealed to the Illinois Supreme Court, and defendant’s conviction was affirmed. Id. at 754. In support of his claim of ineffective assistance, defendant alleged that an investigation by counsel would have revealed mitigation evidence including “his family’s history of mental illness and violence.” Id. at 761. The court found it unlikely that such evidence would have affected defendant’s sentence. “The proffered evidence regarding defendant’s psychological problems and his family’s violent and psychological history was not inherently mitigating. Although this evidence could have evoked compassion in the jurors, it could have also demonstrated defendant’s potential for future dangerousness and the basis for defendant’s past criminal acts. The evidence of defendant’s mental illness may also have shown that defendant was less deterrable or that society needed to be protected from him.” Id. (citation omitted). The Illinois Supreme Court affirmed. Id. at 754.

A genetics defense was alluded to and rejected, although it was never actually identified as such. In support of his claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, defendant also argued that his counsel had failed to request a jury instruction explaining that “the alternative sentence to death is natural life in prison without parole, if the State places the defendant’s future dangerousness at issue.” Id. at 760. However, this court concluded that “the prosecution did not place the defendant’s future dangerousness at issue during the second stage of the sentencing hearing,”

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Comments thus rendering defendant’s claim without merit. Id.

Billiot v. State, 655 So. 2d 1 (Miss. 1995).

Defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. 655 So. 2d at 2. At a postconviction evidentiary hearing to determine the defendant’s competency to be executed, a psychology professor who had interviewed and examined defendant testified that he did not believe that the allegedly schizophrenic defendant was malingering because of defendant’s “genetic predisposition for the symptoms” of schizophrenia. Id. at 8. The court nevertheless found the defendant competent. On appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court held the trial court had not erred in refusing to weigh the testimony of this one witness more heavily than the combined testimony of the other expert witnesses, all of whom opined that defendant was competent to be executed. Id. at 14. Categorizing defendant’s competency to be executed as a “postconviction relief question” properly deferred to the judgment of the trial and circuit judges, that court refused to conduct de novo review. Id. at 12.

State v. Wilson, No. Civ. A. 92CA005396, 1994 WL 558568 (Ohio Ct. App. Oct. 12, 1994).

Defendant was convicted of aggravated Genetic predisposition murder, kidnapping, and aggravated arson was mentioned only in and was sentenced to death. 1994 WL 558568, passing. at *1. On appeal, the Ohio Court of Appeals affirmed, determining, in part, that the aggravating circumstances of the crime outweighed the mitigating factors presented during the penalty phase, such as defendant’s genetic predisposition to alcoholism. Id. at *43.

The appellate court acknowledged that the witness testifying to defendant’s genetic predisposition to schizophrenia “had done more recent and more extensive research on the issue of [defendant’s] sanity” than had the other expert witnesses. Id. at 13.

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Hendricks v. Calderon, 864 F. Supp. 929 (N.D. Cal. 1994), aff’d, 70 F.3d 1032 (9th Cir. 1995).

Defendant was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder, including felony murder, and was sentenced to death. 70 F.3d at 1035. His petition for writ of habeas corpus was denied. On appeal, the denial was reversed and remanded. Hendricks v. Vasquez, 908 F.2d 490, 491 (9th Cir. 1990). Defendant’s amended petition was denied and remanded again for a postconviction hearing on defendant’s claim of ineffective assistance of counsel as to the penalty phase of his trial. Hendricks, 70 F.3d at 1035 n.1. Defendant claimed his counsel had failed to call two expert witnesses who could have testified about mitigating circumstances. These witnesses stated at the hearing that defendant had a family history of mental illness and that he therefore had a genetic predisposition to serious mental illness. 864 F. Supp. at 934–35. The experts explained that the predisposition was “exacerbated by . . . [a] violent and traumatic upbringing” that included physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Id. at 935. One expert stated that the defendant was “genetically predisposed and vulnerable to serious mental illness.” Id. Another would have testified at trial that defendant “was insane and that he had diminished capacity at the time of the homicides.” Id. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the district court that although it was reasonable for trial counsel not to call the experts to testify about an insanity defense during the guilt phase, withholding this potential mitigating evidence of a genetic predisposition to mental illness and insanity at the sentencing phase was not unreasonable under the circumstances and was prejudicial. 70 F.3d at 1044–45. The Ninth Circuit further suggested that mitigating evidence regarding the defendant’s “difficult life” might have affected the outcome of the case. Id. at 1045.

“Quoting Penry [v. Lynaugh, 492 U.S. 302 (1989)], the Hendricks court reiterated that ‘the jury must be able to consider and give effect to any mitigating evidence relevant to a defendant’s background, character, or the circumstances of the crime.’ In Hendricks’s case, evidence of a genetic predisposition to mental illness would certainly be classified as ‘relevant to a defendant’s character.’ Thus, the court held that Hendricks’s trial counsel’s failure to offer, among other things, mitigating evidence of a genetic predisposition to mental illness and insanity at the sentencing phase resulted in prejudice.” Cecilee Price-Huish, Born to Kill? “Aggression Genes” and Their Potential Impact on Sentencing and the Criminal Justice System, 50 SMU L. REV. 603, 617–18 (1997) (citations omitted).